Eurovision: An Israeli Perspective

30 May

Hello Europe, Jerusalem calling.

Near the top of my favourite guilty pleasures would have to be Eurovision. How could anyone not be half-smitten by this pan-European spectacle of all things kitsch, with a parade of 20+ songs of unparalleled awfulness – with costumes and dance routines to match – followed up by a re-education in European political point scoring with its fuzzy TV link-ups to bewildered European judges. One of the year’s TV highlights on so many levels.

Fortunately my enthralment for this tasteless musical project is matched by my better half and Eurovision 2010 was, I think, our 4th Eurovision celebrated together. For the first time we witnessed it all from Israel. As one of the more successful countries in Eurovision history I had half-expected a slight Eurovision fever to descend over the land…but alas. The land of Dana International

Dana International and Israeli pop's 15 minutes of fame.

fame (the Israeli transsexual who won in 1998) seemed to let the event pass by without much furore. Of course it wouldn’t be a European gathering without Israel feeling it had been hard done by in some way or another: this year, whilst all other countries had maps of their respective countries light up onto the screen, Israel’s was omitted – the organisers unsure no doubt as to whether include the West Bank & Golan Heights on any map of Israel. This led to an official complaint from Israeli Foreign Office – “Israel chastises Eurovision for failing to show country map” Sigh…it’s only Eurovision!!

Anyway, although it was shown on national television, the financially beleaguered Channel 1 (the national broadcaster) opted out of sending a man with a microphone to comment on proceedings, thus leaving us to endure the entire show without any of the witty and sarcastic commentary that we had become so used to with the BBC with Terry Wogan and Graham Norton.  And like most of Europe’s national broadcasters I am sure Channel 1 breathed sigh of relief that their entry didn’t win, bringing the responsibility of holding next year’s event back with him…

So yes, Israel scraped home in 14th place with a classic mediocre Eurovision ballad. Having watched the Israeli entry hit all the wrong notes in his semi-final performance he did manage at least to do okay in the final. Still without the catchy joie de vivre of other acts (Romania’s fire-exploding comes to mind) he was always going to struggle…now let me know if you think I’m taking this too seriously!

So, as we all now know Germany won – so much for my comment after their performance they could never win as a) it was a bland performance and b) half of Europe has an engrained grudge against them so they could never amass enough points. Whilst Asya and friends scanned every point tally for Israel’s marks (for which a special thank you goes out to Finland and the Netherlands who gave Israel 10 points!) it became increasingly clear that Germany was running away things – and that the U.K. would again be last.

One of the few countries that didn’t give Germany any points was of course Israel – I think tactical political voting doesn’t even begin to cover the bad blood once held between these two countries. Now I wouldn’t normally open that can of worms in the midst such a light-hearted post on Eurovision, but it was telling to hear amongst all this light-hearted political point scoring Asya’s friend suddenly remark how much she hated Germany. And before you wondering whether she really meant this she proceeded to reveal a tattoo inscribed with her grandmothers’ concentration camp number.

It’s at moments like that you feel a little loss for words…

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Posted by on May 30, 2010 in Music


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