Photo by Batya Sharabi/TPS on 19 January, 2024

Israel to Revise Eurovision Lyrics Amid Controversy Over References to October 7 Attacks

Public By Pesach Benson • 3 March, 2024

Jerusalem, 3 March, 2024 (TPS) -- Amid a controversy with the organizers of the Eurovision song competition, Israel agreed to modify the lyrics of two possible songs that referred to Hamas’s October 7 massacre.

“Despite the disagreement with the position of the Eurovision supervisory committee, which requested to disqualify the two songs submitted by Israel to the competition, it was decided to adopt the advice of President Isaac Herzog…which would enable Israel’s representation on the Eurovision stage,” the Kan public broadcaster said in a statement on Sunday.

“The president said that precisely when our enemies seek to push and exclude the State of Israel from every stage, it is up to Israel to make its voice heard with pride and dignity and to raise its flag in every international forum, especially this year,” Kan added.

As the official broadcaster, Kan is responsible for organizing and producing Israel’s national selection process to choose its representative for the Eurovision Song Contest.

The contest is organized by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), of which Israel is a member. This year’s competition will have 37 participants.

Twenty-year-old singer Eden Golan has been chosen to represent Israel in the international competition, which this year will be held in Malmo, Sweden on May 7-11. Contest organizers rejected the first song, “October Rain,” saying it was “too political.” The alternate song, “Dance Forever,” was rejected for the same reason.

“October Rain,” sung mostly in English, was rejected because of lines such as “writers of the history/ stand with me,” and the final lines in Hebrew, “There is no air left to breathe/ No place, no me from day to day/ They were all good kids, every one of them.”

The other song, “Dance Forever,” is considered a tribute to the victims of the Nova massacre, where 364 people were killed during a rave and 40 more were taken hostage. Of all the locations attacked by Hamas on October 7, the highest death toll was at the music festival, on the grounds of Kibbutz Re’im.

“Hear violins, angels don’t cry, they only sing,” said one line, regarded as a reference to the dead.

The EBU in mid-February rejected calls for Israel to be banned from competing because of the war.

“The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political music event and a competition between public service broadcasters who are members of the EBU. It is not a contest between governments,” said EBU director general Noel Curran.

Israel has won the contest four times, most recently in 2018, when Netta Barzilai sang “Toy,” a song of female empowerment.