Who is Eden Golan? Israel’s 2024 Eurovision contestant singing Hurricane at the final in Sweden

Twenty-year-old singer was voted through the second semi-final and will compete in the final in Malmo, Sweden

Roisin O'Connor
Monday 13 May 2024 17:04
Israel's Eurovision entry Eden Golan responds to Palestine protests as she makes final

Eden Golan is representing Israel in the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest, and will perform her song “Hurricane” at the grand final tonight in Malmö, Sweden.

Earlier this week, the 20-year-old singer was met with boos and shouts of “free Palestine” during the dress rehearsal for the second semi-final on Thursday 9 May.

Protests were also underway outside the Malmö Arena, where the event is being held, as pro-Palestine activists waved Palestinian flags and banners with Eurovision-style branding and the word “genocide” written across them.

Accusations that a genocide is being carried out in Gaza have been vehemently denied by Israel, amid its ongoing war with Hamas sparked by the 7 October attacks. More than 34,000 Palestinians, including more than 14,000 children, have been killed by Israeli strikes since 7 October.

Golan was successfully voted through following her performance in the semi-final and is now up against fellow delegates such as Croatia’s Baby Lasagna, Ireland’s Bambie Thug, the Netherlands’ Joost and the UK’s Olly Alexander.

The running order has since been announced, revealing when she will perform.

Eden Golan of Israel, centre, celebrates gaining a place in the final (Martin Meissner/AP) (AP)

Here’s everything we know about her so far.

Born in Israel before moving to Russia with her family, Golan launched her music career by taking part in the Russian selection for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in 2015, which she followed with an appearance on Russian TV show The Voice Kids. The family moved back to Israel in 2022.

Ahead of the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest, Israel worked with the Keshet 12 channel and the talent show Rising Star to select a delegate to represent the country.

Golan won all phases of the competition, impressing judges with renditions of “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston and “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith during the final.

Eden Golan singing ‘Hurricane’ in the Eurovision 2024 semi-finals (AP)

Golan originally intended to sing “October Rain”, but the song was widely interpreted to contain several references to the Hamas attacks of 7 October, thereby breaching the European Broadcasting Union’s rules about political lyrics.

Along with the title’s reference to “October”, this included the lines, “There’s no air left to breathe” and, “They were all good children, each one of them.”

After the EBU said it was scrutinising the lyrics, Israeli president Isaac Herzog called for “necessary adjustments” in order to ensure his country could take part.

The song was updated and Golan was permitted to proceed in the contest with “Hurricane”, with the EBU approving the new lyrics.

Israel’s Eden Golan reacts after qualifying for the final of the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest (TT NEWS AGENCY/AFP via Getty Ima)

As delegates are asked to avoid making political statements while competing in Eurovision, Golan is unlikely to make any kind of explicit comment on her country’s ongoing war with Hamas.

Speaking to Reuters this month, she said: “I came here to show my voice, to share my love, my gift from God and to hopefully make people feel something and leave a mark in their souls and to unite by music.”

Questioned about her view on the ongoing protests over her presence at Eurovision, she said: “It’s up to the people what to do. They have the right to speak her voice, but I’m focusing on my part which is giving the best performance, and on the good: the good vibes, the good people.”

After she was voted through to the final, Golan said she was “overwhelmed with emotions” and that she was “super excited to go on stage once more, and share that of my love with everyone”.

Police face pro-Palestinian protesters in Malmo during the Eurovision semi-final on 9 May 2024 (TT NEWS AGENCY/AFP via Getty Ima)

The Netherlands’ contestant Joost then pressed her to also answer a journalist’s question about whether she felt she was bringing “risk and danger” for other participants by competing.

“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 united place for everyone and so I think it’s safe for everyone and we wouldn’t be here (if not),” she responded.

Eden Golan of Israel performs the song Hurricane during the semi-final dress rehearsal (Martin Meissner/AP) (AP)

She will perform sixth during Saturday’s final, after Joost and ahead of the UK’s representative Olly Alexander, who is 13th in the running order.

The Eurovision final will be broadcast by BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK from 8pm on Saturday 11 May.

This article was amended on 13 May 2024. It previously said that Golan was born in Russia, but this was inaccurate. She was born in Israel and moved to Russia as a child with her family.

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