Israeli singer secures spot in Eurovision grand final

Staff WritersReuters
Eden Golan secured a spot in the Eurovision final despite protest against Israel's inclusion. (AP PHOTO)
Camera IconEden Golan secured a spot in the Eurovision final despite protest against Israel's inclusion. (AP PHOTO) Credit: AP

Israeli singer Eden Golan has insisted the Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden remains "safe for everyone" amid protests against her participating as she made the final.

Golan, 20, whose emotional Hurricane was reworked from a previous track called October Rain, which was thought to reference the Hamas attacks on Israel, performed at the second semi-finals on Thursday evening in Malmo Arena.

Earlier in the day, more than 10,000 pro-Palestinian campaigners, including climate activist Greta Thunberg, staged a non-violent protest in the hours ahead of the semi-final, waiving Palestinian flags and shouting "boycott Israel"..

Netherlands act Joost Klein told Golan to answer a question on whether she is comprising the safety of other contestants at a press conference.

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A journalist asked: "Have you ever thought that by being here you bring risk and danger for other participants and public?"

Golan was told she did not have to answer the question, but Klein chimed in saying: "Why not?"

Golan said: "I think we're all here for one reason and one reason only and the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) is taking all safety precautions to make this a safe and and united place for everyone and so I think it's safe for everyone and we wouldn't be here (if not)."

The Israeli act also said she was "overwhelmed with emotions" and was "super excited to go on stage once more, and share that of my love with everyone".

The event's organisers had said they will not "censor" the audience after Golan was booed during rehearsals on Wednesday and there were reportedly shouts of "free Palestine".

Switzerland's Nemo, whose operatic-pop song The Code is seen as one of the favourites to win on Saturday, made the final along with Klein, with his irreverent and silly Europapa, and Norway's Gate with the folkish Ulveham.

Also making the final was Latvia's Dons, Austria's Kaleen, Greece's Marina Satti, Estonia's 5Miinust x Puuluup, Georgia's Nutsa Buzaladze and Armenia's Ladaniva.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), whose members approved Israeli broadcaster Kan, has taken a strong stance, as in previous years, against political messages at Eurovision and flags and symbols from non-competing countries.

Despite the position, Tuesday's first semi-final saw former Swedish contestant and opening act Eric Saade wear a keffiyeh pattern material, commonly used by people who want to show they are pro-Palestinian, on his arm.

with PA

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