Israeli broadcaster (IBA) has appeald the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) with a request for a change in the recently new adapted formula for the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest.
The contest's new format determines that the contest will be held over two consecutive nights: a semi-final on Friday night, and the final contest on Saturday night. Israel now faces a problem with this formula, since Friday night, the jewish Sabbath, is sacred and holy for the jewish people, and according to tradition, working is not allowed. The only live programmes on Friday night in Israel are the news magazines, but exceptions are made when special events occur.
IBA is now suggesting, that in case Israel wins the 2003 contest (or any other in the future), it will have the right to broadcast the semi-final on Thursday night. This request is supported by technical reason as well: broadcasting the semi-final on Thursday will allow more rehearsals and preparations for the final. The 1999 Eurovision Song Contest in Jerusalem faced similar problems, when rehearsals were made during the Sabbath but without any audience.
Meanwhile, Yediot Ahronot also reports that the preparations for the jubilee Eurovision Song Contest in 2005 are already ahead. The EBU will organize a bid between the big four countries (Spain, Germany, France and the UK), and one of them will be the host nation that year. This means that the 2004 winner won't necessarily host the next contest.