IBA, the Israeli national broadcaster has confirmed to ESCTOday Israel’s preliminary participation at the forthcoming 2016 Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm. An official and final confirmation is expected to be released by the Israel broadcaster by mid October.
IBA’s press office has also confirmed to ESCToday that Israel will compete in the 2nd Semifinal of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm, as the EBU has approved IBA’s request to compete in semfinal 2 on 12 May as the date of semfinal 1 (10 May) clashes with a national holiday. Thus Israel is the 30th country to confirm its intention to compete at next year’s Eurovision party in Stockholm.
Last summer, it was announced that the Israeli broadcaster IBA was planned to shut down in March 2015. However, the national elections had postponed this move which will finally happen in March 2016. A new national broadcaster will be opened right away, under the name Ta’agid HaShidur Ha’Israeli (Israeli Broadcasting Corporation, or IBC).
Furthermore, EBU has agreed to Israel’s request to be allocated to the second semifinal that will be held on 12 May, which is also Israel’s independence day. That is because the memorial day for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism falls next year on 10 May, the day of the first semifinal.
Israel will be using once again the talent show HaKochav Haba (The Next Star/Rising Star) in order to find its Eurovision representative, after the first qualification since 2010 and a final 9th place. The program will consist of 15 episodes and the winner will represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest 2016. The song will mostly be chosen via internal selection, after the winner will be known. As the program is produced by Keshet and broadcasted on the commercial Channel 2, the closing and re-opening of the Israeli broadcaster does not affect the national selection process.
The period for countries to apply for participation at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest concluded on 15 September. Hereafter applicant countries have a grace period until 10 October to decide if they are to stay or not in the competition without facing a financial penalty.
In 2015 Nadav Guedj represented Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna with his entry Golden boy, achieving a 9th place in the grand final.
Israel debuted at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1973 with Ilanit and has won the competition thrice in 1978, 1979 and in 1999. The country has hosted Europe’s favourite television show twice in 1979 and 1999 in Jerusalem.
The 2016 Eurovision Song Contest is scheduled to be held on 10, 12 and 14 May at the Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden.