Eurovision to Ban Israeli Song

CAIRO — The Eurovision, the world’s most-watched song contest, is threatening to ban the entry of a controversial Israeli song over its improper political message, the Independent reported on Friday, March 2.
"It’s absolutely clear that this kind of message is not appropriate for the competition," said Kjell Ekholm, an organizer of the annual contest.

The Eurovision’s official website on Friday listed as yet no details of the Israeli group or its song choice under the entry "Israel," giving only the band’s name.

The "Push the Button" projects itself as a counterpoint to the anodyne lyrics of previous Eurovision entries, from Israel as well as other countries.

"Here we are in the pre-finals with a song that isn’t about salaam [Arabic for peace], red is not just a color, it’s more like blood."

The lyrics are sung by the Teapacks, one of Israel’s most experienced and popular bands, in English, French and Hebrew.

"The world is full of terror, if someone makes an error, he’s gonna blow us up to kingdom come," sings Kobi Oz, the lead singer.

"There are some crazy rulers, they hide and try to fool us, with demonic, technological willingness to harm. They’re gonna push the button, push the button."

At one point they sing, in what could be construed as a reference to Israel’s nuclear arsenal: "If it continues to be frightening, then only then I will say I’m gonna push the button, push the button, push the button, push the button."

Israel is believed to be the only nuclear power in the Middle East, with experts saying it has no less than 200 nuclear warheads.

US intelligence agencies routinely omit Israel from semiannual reports to Congress identifying countries developing weapons of mass destruction to protect the country from any economic or military sanctions.


The song was written by eccentric Oz who defended his lyrics.

"We are not working to make nice to everyone. Real art provokes responses and provokes people into arguing."

Yoav Ginai, the head of the Israel Broadcasting Authority’s judging committee, described Oz as "one of the most unique and original composers in the country".

The authority had selected the band without giving Israelis a chance to chose between several candidates, as it had in some previous years.

Israeli television viewers on Tuesday chose the song out of four prepared by the band in a phone-in television show.

"It was a choice that perhaps owed more to the public mood than to any cute lyrical hook or novel musical riff," according to the Guardian.

It said Israelis paid little heed to the eternal Eurovision themes of peace, love and harmony.

The Teapacks will hope to follow in the footsteps of Israel’s last great Eurovision contender, the transsexual Dana International, who sang an altogether different song called Diva, which swept her to victory in Birmingham in 1998.

First held in 1956, Eurovision is best known for launching the careers of performers such as Abba and Celine Dion.

Although widely associated with kitsch and trite lyrics and dominated by western European countries, the annual contest has seen an eastward shift in recent years with the addition of nearly a dozen new countries emerging from the break-up of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia.
( + Newspapers)

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