Herzog says dialogue required to solve Eurovision song crisis

After Ynet disclosure that Eurovision could disqualify Israel's song as too political, president says we need to be 'smart and not just right' in order to reach this important international stage: 'It is important that we be there'

President Isaac Herzog on Sunday acknowledged the Ynet disclosure that Eurovision is considering disqualifying Israel's entry to the Eurovision song contest, "October Rain," for being too political, and said that he is trying to assist in any way that he can to ensure that Israel remains in the contest.
" I think it is important that Israel appear in the Eurovision because it is a stage of hundreds of millions of viewers," he said at the B'Sheva Jerusalem conference.
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"I think it's good that the (Israeli Public Broadcasting) Corporation here is having a dialogue with the European Broadcasting Union, it's important. We need to have dialogue and more dialogue, to be smart and not just to be right," Herzog said.
"There is a song that represented Israel in 1992 that says 'it's not just a sport,' it's significant politically and informatively," he said, referring to Dafna Dekel's song at the 1992 Eurovision that also was held in Malmo, Sweden, "Lo Raq Sport."
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Eden Golan will represent Israel at Eurovision in May in Malmö, Sweden, after winning the reality show 'The Next Star for Eurovision'
(Photo: Keshet Broadcaster)
Last week Ynet learned that the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is considering disqualifying the song "October Rain" for use in the Eurovision song contest due to its "political words," and that the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation has decided not to change the words and the name of the song, which refer to the Hamas surprise attack and massacre on October 7.
The EBU said in response to Ynet's query that: "We are currently in the process of carefully examining the song's lyrics - a process that is confidential between the EBU and the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation until a final decision is made. All broadcasters have until March 11 to submit their songs officially. If a song does not meet the criteria for any reason, the corporation will be given the opportunity to submit a new song or new lyrics, in accordance with the rules of the competition."
Culture Minister Miki Zohar responded to the European Broadcasting Union in a letter he sent to the body in which he asked them to approve Israel's song. "The song that Israel sent to the Eurovision song contest was chosen by a professional committee consisting of well-known names in the local music and entertainment industry," he said in the letter. “It is a moving song, discussing renewal and revival from a very fragile reality of loss and destruction, and describes the current public mood in Israel these days. We see now most clearly because our lives – as one, united society – manage to overcome even the greatest suffering. This is not a political song.”
"As you yourself said we appreciate it, Israel has been participating in the Eurovision Song Contest for several decades, and has even proudly hosted the contest several times, including a few years ago. We are sure that the Eurovision song contest represents more than anything the power of culture and music - and trust that you will continue in your important task of keeping it free from any attempt at political manipulation. I am asking you to allow the song representing Israel, 'October Rain,' to participate in the Eurovision song contest."
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