The government would act in accordance with European Broadcasting Union (EBU) rules concerning the Eurovision Song Contest, which is expected to take place in Israel next year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clarified Monday.
Netanyahu convened a special meeting on the matter after the EBU implied that if the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (IPBC, which operated under the name Kan) is split from its news division, it would be impossible to broadcast the Eurovision from Israel, as such a split contradicts EBU rules, despite Israel's Netta Barzilai winning the 2018 contest.
The law to split the IPBC has already passed a Knesset vote, but is being looked into by the High Court following a petition filed against it.
Monday’s meeting was attended by Communications Minister Ayoob Kara, Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.
Minister Regev argued that there was no need to change the law, as splitting the IPBC won’t prevent Israel from hosting the Eurovision. Minister Kara, on the other hand, said it would be wrong to take the risk and suggested issuing a temporary provision to postpone the split.
After hearing from all parties, Netanyahu instructed the attorney general to approach the EBU and request a clear answer in writing to the following question: Will Israel be banned from hosting the Eurovision in case of an IPBC split?
Netanyahu clarified at the end of the meeting that in case of an explicit answer from the EBU that Israel would not be able to host the Eurovision in the event of an IPBC split, the government would act in accordance with the Europeans’ rules to guarantee that the musical event would be held in Israel after all.
The Prime Minister’s Office offered the following statement: “The prime minister made it clear that the government would act in accordance with European Broadcasting Union rules. However, there are open legal issues regarding the Eurovision stemming from matters of pending legislation that are yet before the courts. The prime minister instructed that the legal aspects of the matter be examined with the relevant officials before a decision is made.”