Eurovision 2019: Lack of funding puts Israel hosting in jeopardy?

by Jessica Weaver 2,370 views

Further problems have arisen in regards to Israel’s hosting of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, with local reports suggesting that both Jerusalem and the country’s national broadcaster in general currently lack fans in order to host the forthcoming competition.

Two separate reports, 2 reoccurring issues: according to the latest Eurovision 2019 reports, there could be a number of potential problems in regards to funding for the upcoming song contest set to take place in Israel.

Whilst the Maltese national broadcaster – TVM – has reported that Israeli minister Michael Oren has claimed that Jerusalem does not have the resources to host the forthcoming competition, Hadashot has gone one step further, claiming that the Israeli national broadcaster – KAN – is currently at risk of losing the right to host Eurovision 2019 due to funding.

Starting with Jerusalem

Yesterday during a visit to the Mediterranean island of Malta, Israeli minister – Michael Oren – spoke to TVM about the country’s upcoming hosting plans for the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest.

Speaking of the 2 reported front-runner cities, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Oren revealed to the Maltese broadcaster that Tel Aviv is the most likely candidate to host the upcoming competition. But why is this?

Well, Oren goes on to reveal that Jerusalem does not have the resources and facilities to meet the hosting criteria of the Eurovision Song Contest. Oren is quoted as saying:

To the best of my knowledge, this is always changing, Jerusalem doesn’t have the facilities necessary for Eurovision, so it may have to be held in Tel Aviv anyway, which would solve the whole problem.

In recent weeks many Israeli news outlets have backed Oren’s claims, with Tel Aviv looking to be the city which can meet the majority of the hosting criteria set by KAN and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

The religious observance of the Sabbath has becoming a talking point in regards to Jerusalem’s hosting bid for Eurovision 2019, with many noting Eurovision rehearsals could be disturbed due to the days of rest and worship from Friday evening to Saturday evening.

A final decision for both the host city and dates are expected to be made by September this year, however has another issue arisen which could cause further problems for the upcoming host country?

KAN speaks of hosting risk for Israel

In a further report by Hadashot, it has been revealed that KAN is currently under pressure to find the funds to pay the security deposit for the 2019 song contest, claiming that the country is at risk of losing the right to host the event if the deposit is not paid within 5 days.

It has been reported that the heads of the broadcaster have sent a letter to the Prime Minister of Israel – Benjamin Netanyahu – along with the Finance Minister and Communications Minister to reveal the latest threat to the future hosting of the event, due to the government reportedly refusing to increase the corporation’s budget.

Hadashot adds that failure to provide the money within 5 days would result in the cancellation of hosting the event. The current funds needed for this installment adds up to €12 million.

Loan offered but declined

The Times of Israel reports that a loan was offered to KAN by the Communications Minister, however KAN had rejected the offer due to the asked terms, instead asking for an increase to the budget for the annual year.

In the letter sent to the Prime Minister and fellow officials, Hadashot reveals the following lines:

Such a move would leave the corporation with a budgetary deficit which contravenes the law and risks its extensive activities.

Therefore the board of the broadcaster addresses the relevant parties in order to quickly find a source to cover the required security deposit, as well as an undertaking to provide the appropriate budget to produce the competition.

Netanyahu has claimed that in total, KAN has received an annual budget of 700 million NIS (€165 million) and should in fact make do with the amount provided, including hosting the forthcoming Eurovision Song Contest.

Despite recent reports, there has been no confirmation of any plans to move the competition outside of Israel by either KAN or the EBU.

The EBU confirmed Israel as the host country for Eurovision 2019 earlier this year following mixed media reports.

Five days to go until the deposit deadline passes; in the coming days we will know if the funding has been provided.