Israel will officially participate in Eurovision after its latest song submission is approved


((JR)) — After its first two song entries were denied, Israel has officially been approved to compete in this year’s Eurovision music competition.

The European Broadcasting Union, which runs the annual contest, approved Israel’s most recent submission, titled “Hurricane,” which had been revised after its first-choice song, “October Rain,” was rejected because of the competition’s rules against political messaging. That song had been submitted along with another option, “Dance Forever,” which was also denied. Both songs’ lyrics alluded to Hamas’ Oct. 7 invasion of Israel and its massacre at an outdoor music festival.

Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, announced that Eden Golan, who had been chosen last month to represent Israel in the contest, would perform “Hurricane” at the competition in Malmo, Sweden, in May. The approved song has the same melody as “October Rain” but with new lyrics.

The English lyrics of “October Rain,” which were reported by the newspaper Israel Hayom, had included the lines: “Who told you boys don’t cry / Hours and hours / and flowers / Life is not a game for the cowards.” (“Flowers” is Israeli military jargon for fallen soldiers.)

The lyrics to “Hurricane” were not immediately available. Israel has won Eurovision four times, most recently in 2018.

“This year it is more important than ever that we stand on that stage and represent our country with respect,” Golan said in Hebrew in a video message posted to her Instagram account after “Hurricane” was approved. “I intend to do everything to represent our country with pride and to give it my all so we can get the maximal result.”

Israel’s presence in this year’s Eurovision has drawn calls for boycotts from artists in a number of countries —including IcelandDenmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden — who have called on the European Broadcasting Union to ban Israel from the competition over the war in Gaza or threatened not to participate if Israel does enter. Two Belgian ministers called for Israel to be banned this week — including by comparing Israel to Russia, which had been barred in 2022 over its invasion of Ukraine and has not participated since.