Despite being a runner-up in this year’s Eurovision song contest, there appears to be a small chance that Cyprus could still be the host next year due to political and security concerns in Israel.
Just two weeks after Israel won Eurovision 2018, there are rumours that the country may not get to host the song contest next year due to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
According to Spanish channel Formula TV, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has warned the Israeli government not to host the event in Jerusalem, which is a controversial place for both Jews and Arabs.
The EBU is reportedly concerned that other countries could withdraw from the competition if Jerusalem was named as the host of the Eurovision song contest in 2019.
This has raised hopes that Cyprus, which came second with Eleni Foureira’s ‘Fuego’, could be next in line to possibly host the event
Following a US move to name Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and transferring the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city, violence broke out and countries have criticised the US and Israeli governments for discouraging peace talks in the region.
The EBU reportedly went on social media platforms and even its official website to warn fans not to book flights or finalise their accommodation plans until both dates and location have been confirmed.
If Israel does not choose another city to host the event, media observers said that another country might have to step in.
Cyprus has the money to do it
This has raised hopes that Cyprus, which came second with Eleni Foureira’s ‘Fuego’, could be next in line to possibly host the event, if necessary.
But the question over Cyprus hosting the Eurovision got Cypriots talking days before the event, with many asking whether they could afford to host such an extravagant event only a few years after exiting recession. Lack of a proper-sized venue was also a hot topic on the island.
Cyprus Finance Minister Harris Georgiades had weighed in on the matter just before the final, jokingly saying on a TV show that after numerous pleas from his 10-year-old daughter “I took the decision and commitment, if we win, to open state coffers”.
“To allay concerns, the financial part is not an issue, the state coffers will open, and that is not something I say often,” Georgiades said the day before the May 12 final.
Fuego had all the ingredients of a Eurovision blockbuster - sassy singer, choreography-heavy routine, Latin-pop up-tempo anthem and a screaming audience.
But Cyprus lacked votes, as Israel’s Netta Barzilai in the end came on top with her song ‘Toy’ that resonated with audiences around the world for its women’s empowerment theme.
Netta shouted “next time in Jerusalem” when she won first prize.
But this is easier said than done, proving right those euro fans around the world who say Eurovision is more about politics than music.