Israel’s Eurovision contestant Eden Golan has brought ‘immense pride’, Netanyahu says

Reaction from the Israeli prime minister comes as the organisers behind Eurovision are criticised for allowing the country to take part

Roisin O'Connor
Monday 13 May 2024 08:52 BST
Eurovision: Boos and ‘mixed reaction’ after Israel’s Eden Golan performs

Israel’s Eurovision contestant Eden Golan has been praised by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu for her performance at the grand final in Sweden.

At the final on Saturday 11 May, Switzerland’s delegate Nemo was crowned the winner with their operatic pop song “The Code”, while the UK’s Olly Alexander placed 18th.

Golan, 20, finished in fifth place in the contest after being widely tipped as a favourite with her song “Hurricane”, despite controversy surrounding her country’s participation amid its war on Gaza.

Netanyahu said that Golan had brought “honour” to the country: “They booed you and we shouted 'douze points',” he said in a statement shared from his official X/Twitter account.

“I saw that you received almost the highest number of votes from the public and this is the most important thing, not from the judges but from the public, and you held Israel's head up high in Europe.

“You have brought immense pride to the state of Israel and the people of Israel. Congratulations.”

Israel’s Eurovision contestant Eden Golan enters the stage during the opening ceremony of the 2024 grand final (Getty Images)

During Golan’s performance at the Malmo Arena, boos and jeers were heard in between the applause.

While she only received 52 points from jury votes, she shot up to fifth place after receiving an audience score of 323 points, including douze points from the UK’s public vote.

The singer told Sky News that she was “over the moon” with the final result and had ignored the controversy surrounding her performance.

“We accomplished the impossible and it was a great privilege,” she said. “I felt our country’s love and everyone’s support, and it was unforgettable.”

Netanyahu’s praise for Golan comes as Ireland’s Eurovision 2024 contestant Bambie Thug hit out at organisers the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), as they accused Israeli broadcaster Kan of a rule break.

Bambie Thug, who uses they/them pronouns, has been outspoken in their support of Palestine amid Israel’s war on Gaza. Their performance in the final was thrown into doubt after they announced they would not perform in the final dress rehearsal due to an “urgent situation” that required discussions with the EBU.

They ultimately performed their dramatic song “Doomsday Blue” to the live audience during the final.

Bambie Thug of Ireland performs the song Doomsday Blue during the grand final (Martin Meissner/AP) (AP)

Speaking to journalists in the press centre at the Malmo Arena, the 31-year-old, who came sixth in the contest, accused the EBU of allowing Ireland to become “scapegoats”.

“They waited to the last minute, we still haven't got a statement back to us, allowed us to be scapegoats, allowed us to be the spokesperson for standing up for ourselves,” Bambie said.

“And yeah, the broadcaster has disobeyed the rules and I hope next year they won't be able to compete because of that.”

Bambie Thug accused Eurovision bosses of ‘not supporting them’ in row over Israel delegates (PA)

Speaking of pressure and tensions behind the scenes, they added that they were proud of Nemo, who is also non-binary, for their triumph: “I just want to say we are what Eurovision is. The EBU is not what Eurovision is.

“F*** the EBU, I don’t even care anymore. F*** them.”

The Independent has contacted the EBU for comment.

Moments are winning the Eurovision Song Contest, Nemo also hit out at the EBU for “double standards”, after fans were allegedly told they were not allowed to bring non-binary flags into the arena.

Switzerland’s Eurovision champion Nemo (AP)

“I had to smuggle my flag in because Eurovision said no, but I did it anyway, so I hope some people did that too,” they said. “But, I mean, come on, this is clearly a double standard.”

The singer, who broke their trophy after being crowned winner, continued: “The trophy can be fixed – maybe Eurovision needs fixing a little bit too, every now and then.”

They also said their “whole experience was really intense, and not just pleasant all the way”, telling journalists: “There were a lot of things that didn’t seem like it was all about love and unity. And that made me really sad and at the same time … there was so much love here as well.”

Nemo called for “more compassion” and “empathy”, and said their win was dedicated to “people that are daring to be themselves and people that need to be heard and need to be understood”.

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