As the Eurovision Song Contest gets under way in Sweden, the 37 acts representing their countries are all preparing for a performance like no other, hoping to bag themselves a place in the Grand Final.


The performances will be split across two semi-finals, taking place on Tuesday 7th May and Thursday 9th May.

Amongst the acts performing during the second semi-final is Israel’s entry, Eden Golan, who will be singing the track Hurricane.

Viewers may be wondering why Israel is taking part in the contest, given it is not located in Europe.

This year, there has also been criticism over the country’s involvement in the 2024 competition in light of the current situation in Gaza and the Middle East, with some calling for a boycott.

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Here is the latest about Israel's involvement in Eurovision.

Why is Israel in Eurovision?

While many often think that a country needs to be part of Europe to take part in Eurovision, that is not the case.

Israel has taken part in the Eurovision Song Contest every year since 1973 as the country has been represented by a national broadcaster which is part of the European Broadcasting Union since 1957.

The Israel Broadcasting Authority was a member of the EBU from 1957 up until 2017, at which point the IBA was replaced as Israel’s public broadcaster by the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation. The IPBC is currently a member of the EBU, which allows Israel to continue to compete in Eurovision.

Other non-European members of the EBU include Armenia, Cyprus and Australia – all of which are competing in Eurovision 2024.

Why has there been criticism of Israel’s inclusion in Eurovision 2024?

Eurovision has faced criticism over its decision to allow Israel to compete in this year’s competition in light of the current war in Gaza and the Middle East, with some fans and members of the music industry calling for a boycott of the ceremony.

Noel Curran – director general of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organises Eurovision – has said in a statement: "We understand the concerns and deeply held views around the current conflict in the Middle East. We can’t fail to be moved by the profound suffering of all those caught up in this terrible war.

"However, the Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political music event and a competition between public service broadcasters who are members of the EBU. It is not a contest between governments.

"As a member-led organisation, our governing bodies – the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group and the Executive Board – did review the participants list for the 2024 Contest and agreed that the Israeli public broadcaster KAN met all the competition rules for this year and can participate as it has for the past 50 years."

The artists taking part in this year's contest have also faced backlash for not pulling out of the ceremony, including the UK's act Olly Alexander, who signed a joint statement alongside other entrants explaining they "do not feel comfortable being silent".

"It is important to us to stand in solidarity with the oppressed and communicate our heartfelt wish for peace, an immediate and lasting ceasefire, and the safe return of all hostages," the statement read. "We stand united against all forms of hate, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

"We firmly believe in the unifying power of music, enabling people to transcend differences and foster meaningful conversations and connections. We feel that it is our duty to create and uphold this space, with a strong hope that it will inspire greater compassion and empathy."

Who is representing Israel in Eurovision 2024?

Israel will be represented by Eden Golan, a 20-year-old singer who has risen to fame through various singing competitions, including the national talent competition Hakokhav HaBa (Rising Star).

Golan will be performing Hurricane, a re-written version of previous entry October Rain, which was previously rejected by the EBU due to its political tones.


Israel’s public broadcaster, Kan, initially refused to change the song, but Israel’s President Isaac Herzog called for "necessary adjustments" to be made to ensure the country could participate in the competition.