Israel qualifies for the Eurovision final, after a day of protests

Video explanation, Watch: Eden Golan responds to the march of more than 10,000 people against Israel’s participation in Eurovision

  • author, Mark Savage
  • Role, Music reporter

Israeli singer Eden Golan has qualified for the Eurovision Song Contest final after a public vote.

Her victory came hours after thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered in the streets of Malmö, Sweden, where the competition is being held, to show their support for Gaza.

The night before, the 20-year-old singer was booed during rehearsals. There was a mix of cheering and booing again during Thursday’s semifinal match.

She said after the show that she was “overwhelmed with emotion.”

“It’s a real honor to be here on stage, as an actor [Israel] She said with pride.

“I am so grateful to everyone who voted and chimed in to support us and me.”

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo, Eden Golan blew a kiss to her supporters in the audience after her performance

Who qualified from the second semi-final?

The ten works that passed the public vote on Thursday are:

  • Latvia
  • Austria
  • Holland
  • Norway
  • Israel
  • Greece
  • Estonia
  • Switzerland
  • Georgia
  • Armenia

Which means that the six eliminated countries are Malta, Albania, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark and San Marino.

Comment on the photo, Pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Malmö on Thursday

Israel’s participation in the Eurovision contest has been a source of controversy amid a rising civilian death toll and a deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza, as the war between Israel and Hamas enters its seventh month.

Smoke canisters in the colors of the Palestinian flag exploded in Malmö’s central square on Thursday afternoon, accompanied by chants of “Free Palestine.”

A smaller demonstration in support of Israel also took place.

Although the protests have been largely peaceful, there are armed police outside the hotel where Golan is staying, and she is confined to her room when she is not on stage.

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo, The singer celebrated her victory in the public vote with a love message

After receiving a hostile reception during rehearsals, the singer said “nothing will stop her” from participating in the competition.

Before the semi-final match, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a message of support for Golan Through social media.

“Aiden, I want to wish you success,” he said in Hebrew.

“You know what? You have already succeeded – because not only are you competing in Eurovision in a proud and impressive way, but you are successfully confronting an ugly wave of anti-Semitism – and you are standing up to it and representing the State of Israel. With great honour.

“What a blessing, to know that when people shout ‘boo’ at you, we shout ‘hi’.”

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo, Swiss singer Nemo is one of the favorites to win

According to bettors, Golan’s song is the fifth favorite to win the competition on Saturday evening.

Leading the way is Croatian Pepe Lasagna, who qualified with his loud dance, Rem Tim Taji Deem, from the first semi-final on Tuesday.

Swiss singer Nemo, whose operatic aria “The Code” was second favorite, was among 10 acts voted on after Thursday’s show.

The singer gave one of the most impressive athletic performances of the night, dancing on a turntable while they sang about coming to terms with their non-binary identity.

Other artists who qualified include Kalin from Austria, with her anthem “Snahdi,” and Ladaneva from Armenia, whose song “Jaco” brought a Balkan folk flavor to the competition.

Greek singer Marina Zatti also succeeded in qualifying, despite suffering from pharyngitis and fever in the period leading up to her performance.

Meanwhile, Latvia and Georgia broke an eight-year losing streak, sending their rivals to the final for the first time since 2016.

Comment on the photo, Swedish trio Heere finished in the semi-finals, 40 years after winning the competition

The second semi-final also saw performances by former Eurovision winners Helena Paparizou, Charlotte Pirelli and Sertab Erener – who led the audience in a medley of their winning entries during the interval.

Host Petra Meade also sang a satirical number boasting about Sweden’s seven Eurovision victories. The sequence also included a repeat performance from last year’s runner-up, Käärijä, in all his stunning glory.

The show ended with Swedish pop trio Herrey’s, celebrating the 40th anniversary of Diggi-Loo’s no-nonsense classic Diggi-Ley – which won the competition in 1984.

The final will take place on Saturday from 20:00 GMT, with the UK represented by former Years & Years star Olly Alexander.

The show will be broadcast live on BBC One and BBC Radio 2.

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