Israeli newspaper reports today that IBA's general manager, Moti Sh'klar, has summoned a meeting of IBA's board to approve his decision for a final withdrawal of the broadcaster from future Eurovision Song Contests, as from 2008.
It has already been known for a while that IBA's new general manager does not see IBA's participation in the Eurovision Song Contest as appropriate and adequate for his vision of how the national broadcaster should look in the future. In continuation to previous occasions, when he expressed his will to withdraw from the contest, IBA's general manager called for a meeting of the board to approve his decision, according to which the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest was IBA's last contest, ever. If this decision is approved, IBA will not send an entry to the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest in Serbia and will not even broadcast the contest anymore in the future.
It should be mentioned that there are voices within the IBA's board who oppose to Moti Sh'kalr's decision of Israel's withdrawal. One of them has even sent a strong letter to Mr. Sh'klar and other seniors in the IBA in an attempt to reverse this move. Nevertheless, it seems that the general manager's control over the board will hinder all attempts to abolish his decision. Should IBA indeed withdraw from the Eurovision Song Contest, the other two national channels, Channel 2 and Channel 10 will have the opportunity to take over Israel's entry in the contest. Despite that, it will probably take a long while until Israel returns to the song contest, since none of these 2 broadcasters are EBU members.
Israel joined the Eurovision Song Contest in 1973. Since then, the only non-European country in the contest, has won it 3 times- in 1978, 1979 and 1998.The Eurovision Song Contest was held twice in Jerusalem- in 1979 and in 1999. Apart from the 3 victories, Israel has also reached a top 10 position 14 times in the history of the contest.Israel's last effort in the contest was a complete failure, when Teapacks reached the 24th position in the semifinal in Helsinki 2007. The viewing figures of the last contest in Helsinki showed the lowest interest among the Israeli audience, ever in the history of the contest. This sad achievement comes after a line of poor results for Israel in the 2000's, expect for 2005 when Shiri Maymon managed to qualify to the final inKyiv and finish in a respectable 4th place.