The Eurovision PR Extravaganza that Israel Missed

by Avi Abelow

With Israel hosting Eurovision 2019, our Jewish state had the most unbelievable opportunity to be a true light unto the nations, but we missed it.

Honestly, I wasn’t planning on watching the Eurovision this year. I’m not the biggest fan. Many of the songs aren’t so good or entertaining. Some of the singers/bands are a disgrace in how they dress. And Israel’s representative wasn’t so good this year, even though our representative could have been amazing. Who could have been the most amazing representative for Israel that we missed out on? The amazing Shalva Band that make awesome music and truly represent diversity, since they are a band of people with disabilities.

But, I watched it, since I had family members interested in watching it. So I joined in.

Eurovision in Israel: The Positives

First the positives. Yes, this is a major event with over 200 million people around the world watching and Israel did an amazing production job. Really, top quality, really impressing the world. I also loved the videos on location in Israel, showing the beauty and diversity of Israel. And finally, the unbelievable performance of the Shalva Band, that was THE BEST performance of Eurovision. Still, really unfortunate that they couldn’t be Israel’s representative and that they were forced to sing in the Semi-final episode and not during the final episode with the world viewership of 200+ million viewers.

Regarding the PR value. While I’m sure it gives Israel’s PR a boost, I don’t believe it makes a serious dent in the global, and growing, campaign, to delegitimize Israel. As opposed to others, I accept that the Israel bashing we are witnessing is a reality of our existence of the Jewish people, and it will continue to grow. There always has been Jew-hatred, and today, with Israel viewed as the representative of the Jews, that Jew-hatred is now focused on Israel. Not only will it not disappear, it will continue to grow. So good PR, like the Eurovision, is good, but it is fleeting and it should be treated as such in decision making.

Eurovision Missed Opportunity

Israel did not request from Eurovision to push off the contest by a day, in order not force tens of thousands of people to work on the Sabbath. The Sabbath is not just a religious issue. It is a societal issue, ensuring that people get a day of rest. It is the ultimate expression of man on earth that ll people are equal and all people have the right to a day of rest. The Jewish people were given the gift of the Sabbath to then bee a light unto the nations, so they be inspired to also allow all people to have a day of rest. Yet, Israel missed this special opportunity. Israel didn’t even ask.

Imagine if a Muslim country would have been in a position to host an international event on their holy Friday? Do you think the “Western world” would have forced them to do that, after the Muslim country would request not to do that? Most probably not. So why should Israel? Well, we won’t even know, because Israel didn’t even ask.

Instead of the Eurovision truly being a PR bonanza for Israel, by standing up for the rights of all workers to have a day of rest, we missed the opportunity. We missed the opportunity to explain that the Sabbath is not a religious coercion, but the essential ingredient to a functioning society that places true morality above the warped morality of man, that removes the one above from all rational thought.

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