The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Cheers in Israel – Revised ESC song approved

Israel has given in in the dispute over its song for this year's Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) - and is now allowed to take part in the competition after all. The ESC organizers have approved Israel's revised song, the first version of which they felt was too political, as the participating Israeli television station Kan and the organizers announced on Thursday. "The competition's reference group, its board, after careful consideration of the lyrics, made the decision to accept the song 'Hurricane' for the upcoming competition," the organizers, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) in Geneva, announced. The song fulfills the necessary criteria of the ESC. The Israeli participant Eden Golan will therefore perform the rewritten song, which was previously called "October Rain", in Sweden in May.

The 20-year-old was delighted with the news, as can be seen in a video from the public broadcaster. "We're going to Eurovision", she shouts jubilantly into the camera. The footage also shows Eden Golan jumping for joy on the street when she finds out that she is actually going to Malmö.

On Sunday evening, the singer is to sing the rewritten song for the first time on Israeli television, as Kan had previously announced. The song has the same melody as its predecessor "October Rain", which was too political for the organizers. According to media reports, the song refers to the massacre by the Islamist Hamas in Israel on October 7. Terrorists from Hamas and other extremist groups murdered around 1,200 people and deported another 250 to the Gaza Strip.

The song lyrics originally said, among other things: "Writers of history, stand with me" and "there's no air to breathe. There is no room". The EBU found the content too political. According to Kan, the new version is now about a young woman going through a personal crisis. The station, which is one of the broadcasters participating in the ESC, has not yet published the lyrics. "Hurricane" was reportedly recorded on March 3.

According to a statement, by changing the content, the broadcaster was also responding to a request from Israeli President Izchak Herzog, who had approached the broadcaster's board. According to a statement from the broadcaster, Herzog pleaded for his country's participation in the ESC at a time when those who hated the country were trying to exclude and boycott it.

The broadcaster Kan had initially announced that it did not want to edit the text, but then reversed its decision. Otherwise, this would have cost Israel its participation in the ESC.

The song "October Rain", which is now called "Hurricane", is the broadcaster's first choice for the competition. However, the ESC organizers also rejected the song "Dance Forever", which came second in the Israeli ESC preliminary round and which Kan had also submitted, as too political.

In a statement, the Israeli broadcaster spoke of a "difference of opinion with the position of the European Broadcasting Union". According to the statement, the authors of both songs were contacted and asked for an adjustment "while maintaining full artistic freedom".

The current year is different and special, said singer Eden Golan according to Israeli media. "We are dealing with things that we have not dealt with in previous years". It is more important to her than ever to represent her country with pride.

Swedish artists, among others, had called for Israel to be excluded from the ESC due to the war in Gaza. Israel responded to the Hamas terror with massive bombings and a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip. According to the Hamas-controlled health authority, around 30,800 Palestinians have been killed so far.

The organizers refused to exclude Israel from the competition. The country has already won the ESC four times.


Most Read

Sunday, April 7 – Round Up

7 April 2024
Switzerland may fund French nuclear projects as it grapples with internal issues in the news this Sunday morning.

Swiss Employers Association: Increase Retirement Ages

8 April 2024
Following the rejection of a pension initiative, the Swiss Employers' Association (SAV) recommends a gradual raise in retirement age to 66.

Mustafa Atici Wins: First Migrant in the Executive

8 April 2024
Mustafa Atici, a Kurdish-born entrepreneur, wins the Basel's government election, the first migrant in the executive.

Swiss Oculis Secures $59M in Funding: Iceland Listing Next

11 April 2024
Oculis finalises a $59 million investment round and sets sights on Nasdaq Iceland listing, bolstering its innovative eye care solutions.

Stay in Touch!


Barry Callebaut Beats Market Trends with Sales Increase
10 April 2024
Zug Leads Swiss Purchasing Power: GfK Study Insights
9 April 2024