Israel unveils new Eurovision entry after original song rejected

Israel has submitted a new entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 after the country’s original song was rejected for its perceived political lyrics.

Russian-Israeli singer Eden Golan will now be singing “Hurricane”, which is a rewritten version of original entry “October Rain”, at Eurovision in Malmö, Sweden, in May.

The original version of the track included the lyrics “there’s no air left to breathe” and “they were all good children, each one of them”, which were considered to be references to the Hamas attacks at an outdoor music festival in Israel on 7 October.

The attack led to the deaths of more than 1,200 people and triggered the ongoing war in Gaza. The conflict has resulted in an estimated 30,000 Palestinians deaths.

Eurovision Song Contest organisers said any entries not maintaining the non-political spirit of the event would be disqualified. The new version removes references to the attacks, instead singing about being “broken from this hurricane”.

Golan told Israeli broadcaster Kan 11, which is responsible for the country’s Eurovision entry, that “Hurricane” is about “a woman who is going through a personal crisis: a hurricane”.

Kan 11 originally refused to change the lyrics but later agreed to amend them following a request from Israel’s president Isaac Herzog.

The move comes amid some public calls for Israel to be disqualified from the competition due to the ongoing conflict in Gaza. The disqualification of states is not without precedent: In 2022, Russia was banned from competing at Eurovision after Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine earlier that year.

Sweden won the contest in 2023 – the UK finished 25th with a song by Mae Muller – allowing Malmö to host this year’s event, where Years & Years singer Olly Alexander will perform his new single “Dizzy”.

The Eurovision Song Contest 2024 takes place between 7 and 11 May.

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