What Eurovision in Israel Could Have Been

by Doni Cohen

***A 23 year old Jewish Israeli kid’s thoughts on what should be taken out of this global event. In other words, what Eurovision could have been.***

– When I found out that Eurovision would be hosted by Israel after they won last year (and I found out what Eurovision was for the first time), I wasn’t excited.

I thought that Israel hosting Eurovision would put on the world stage the wrong values of the Jewish State instead of the right ones.

But I said “Alright, it’s probably good PR for Israel anyway in different ways, even if some of the wrong values are shown”.

– When I found out that the Eurovision was going to be held in Tel Aviv instead of Jerusalem, I wasn’t excited.

I thought that Israel missed an opportunity to show off to the world the right values it holds that emanate from it’s holy city, it’s capital, and the center, both physically and spiritually of it’s country.

But I said “Alright, it’s probably better in terms of the technicalities of producing such an event and of not upsetting the residents of the holy city.”

– When I found out that the final would be held on Shabbat instead of a weekday, I wasn’t excited.

I thought that Israel missed an opportunity to show off to the world a Jewish value of having a holy day each week, connected to our religion, our history and our tradition, that we hold holy above all else.

But I said “Alright, I understand why they want to do it on Shabbat even though I don’t agree with it. They’ll have higher ratings, 99% of the singers/guest performers aren’t Jewish or won’t care, and it’s an international competition.”

– When I found out that The Shalva Band wasn’t going to be able to participate in the final because it was on Shabbat, I wasn’t excited.

I thought that Israel missed an opportunity to show off to the world what amazing values it has. How this amazing group of people overcame serious obstacles to create not only a band, but an excellent band, which produced music that had so much more to it than a nice beat and well written words.

But I said “Alright, either way there’s going to be an Israeli representative, and whoever he ends up being, maybe he will stand for the values of the state as well.”

– When I found out that Israel was doing everything in it’s power to have the famous singer Madonna come to perform at the final, I wasn’t excited.

I didn’t know much about her, but I knew that treating religion cheaply and being overly sexually provocative were definitely two things she had emphasized in her career. I didn’t think those values should be laid out the red carpet for and be paid incredibly high amounts of money for to be brought to perform in Israel.

But I said “Alright, I’m sure most people who listen to her music or follow her don’t care that much about those things and look deeply into her persona. They probably just like her music, and Israel being able to bring famous people in to perform in world-renowned competitions may show their ability to be serious international players in various fields.”

– When I found out that within the graphics shown at the competition, views of famous places and beautiful scenery around Israel was shown, but left out any video of locations in Judea and Samaria or as the world calls it the “West Bank”, I wasn’t excited.

I thought that Israel had missed out on an opportunity to show the world it’s true roots from the Biblical times of Jewish history, how much our nation is connected to this land, and why it is so dear to us.

But I said “Alright, how many tourists are going to recognize the Tomb of the Patriarchs in a video anyway? How many of them will know the difference between a view of vineyards in Samaria and vineyards outside of Tel Aviv?”

Then I thought to myself, wait, what should I be excited about?

I didn’t know, and I had never heard of Eurovision until last year, so last night, I decided to tune in for a few minutes to see what it was more or less, and answer that question.

I only watched a few minutes, but what I saw emphasized in most of the news articles, photos and videos afterwards was this:

I saw that only recognizable emcee to international viewers was an Israeli supermodel who decided to pick her personal career over the value of serving her country.

I read that barely any tourists had come to Israel for the event in comparison to the numbers that they had expected.

I saw that Madonna and the singers from the country of Iceland used the stage that was seen by 200 million people worldwide to show a flag that is the official flag of an authority that pays terrorist salaries every month, who’s leader openly calls for murder, and who’s schools teach their next generation of young children hatred.

I saw that although each country in the few seconds the representative had to report the voting results from their nation tried to give over some of the culture/history/tradition of their nation whether it be in the shot, in their language, or in some other way, Israel, despite hosting it, did not make a serious attempt to emphasize such to the world.

It seems that in almost all cases during the event, Israel failed to choose values over publicity and the world’s acceptance.

Jewish history, (which appropriately was lacking from last night’s event), shows us over and over, the more we try to assimilate into the nations of the world, the more we are rejected, detested, and ultimately, not accepted.

From the Exodus of Egypt where we didn’t change our clothes, names, and language, through the horrors of 75+ years ago, when we were finally spit out of Europe (again, appropriately regarding the name and countries participating in last night’s event) after so much assimilation and integration into European society; the same story repeats itself.

The Jewish nation always has been and was, from the start, separated as different.

It is not supposed to try to be like the other nations. It is supposed to serve as “the light unto the nations”. A light that’s shines the connection to our values, history, tradition and religion.

So I ask you:

If an international event broadcast from Israel to 200 million people around the world is devoid of the values of which our nation’s purpose is to spread to the nations of the world- Why should I, in fact, be excited that Israel hosted Eurovision?

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