The Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot reports on the 2019 Eurovision Week in Tel Aviv. It happens in the middle of close security and approx. 20,000 police officers on hand. The title of this year’s competition is “Dare to Dream”.
The highlights of the week will be the two semi-final competitions tonight (May 14) and Thursday, May 16. The final will be on Saturday 18 May (semifinals and finals will be shown at 21 on DR1) – it is one of the world’s biggest musical events and it will be broadcast live to approx. 200 million viewers.
The hosts of this year’s Eurovision are: Bar Refaeli, Lucy Ayoub, Erez Tal and Assi Azar.
On Sunday, Eurovision Village in Charles Clore Park in central Tel Aviv also had musical performances and a food market to mark the big event.
Hundreds of foreign journalists and TV cameras have already gathered at the Expo Center, while thousands of tourists were expected to come to the city.
For the Israeli participant, Kobi Marimi, the opportunity to perform at home is incredibly exciting. His song, “Home”, was written especially for him after he won the competition to represent Israel at Eurovision.
“It was amazing to perform at this stage,” the 27-year-old Marimi said Friday after her first rehearsal on stage, according to Israeli media. “I’m always emotional and I feel like crying.”
He also brushed the criticism of the song off – the bookmakers do not expect the song to be in the top 10.
“I love what we did and I love what we have and I believe in it no matter what,” he said.
Marimi has five backing singers on stage. Israel will perform as song number 14 at the final on Saturday night.
Israel, like Australia, is one of the non-European countries participating in Eurovision. Israel became host of the year after Israel won Eurovision in 2018 with Netta Barzilai’s song “Toy”.
The Israeli military is on high alert with military reinforcements at the border with Gaza ahead of the Palestinians’ marking of Nakba Day on Wednesday.
The Iron Dome defense system is also used at the border area and in the central part of the country to protect Eurovision events from possible attacks by Hamas and Islamic Jihad during the competition.
During the latest rocket attack from Gaza, earlier this month, 700 rockets were sent into Israel. The attacks killed four and wounded over 200 Israelis.
(You can read more about Israel in Eurovision here).