Eurovision: Israel contestant Eden Golan warned to stay in her hotel room

Israel’s Eurovision contestant Eden Golan told to stay in her hotel room
Israel’s Eurovision contestant Eden Golan told to stay in her hotel room Copyright Eurovision
Copyright Eurovision
By David Mouriquand
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As protest from Palestinian sympathisers and fellow entrants loom in Eurovision host city Malmö, Eden Golan has been advised to stay out of sight when not performing.


Israel’s representative for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest has been told not to leave her hotel room other than for performances and Eurovision official events because of pro-Palestinian protests.

Eden Golan, 20, arrived in Malmö earlier this week amid intense security precautions, wearing a pin to show solidarity with the hostages still being held by Hamas.

Swedish police are on high alert, and have even asked for reinforcements from Denmark and Norway for Europe’s biggest pop competition, which is turning out to be one of the event’s most controversial editions – mostly because of Israel’s participation. There have been calls to boycott the event, and more than 1,000 Swedish artists called for Golan to be banned from taking part, as did 1,4000 Finish arts industry workers.

The Russian-Israeli singer is said to have been asked by Israel’s security service, Shin Bet, not to leave her hotel room for her own safety and is understood to be under bodyguard protection.

Golan wrote on Instagram: “As I begin this journey, I'm filled with so many emotions - excitement, anticipation, a little nervous, but most important the desire of wanting to put on the best performance I know I can. I am honoured and filled with so much pride to represent our country - this song represents us, all of us, including those who are home and aren't - we are waiting for you.”

Organisers EBU had threatened to disqualify Israel unless Golan rewrote her song entry 'October Rain' as they found it too politically charged - with it being widely recognised as being in reference to Hamas' October 7 attacks. The song was retooled and renamed 'Hurricane', thereby assuring she could compete.

Speaking to AFP, Golan said she was surprised the organizers turned down 'October Rain'.

“I was kind of shocked when the European Broadcasting Union didn’t approve the song,” Golan said. “I don’t think the first version was political.”

Still, some of the original lyrics, like “There is no air left to breathe” and “They were all good children, every one of them,” were singled out and thought to be about victims of the Hamas attack.

New lyrics like “I’m still broken from this hurricane” are widely seen as still referencing the attacks, but the EBU gave the green light.

Golan argued that 'Hurricane' works on multiple levels and was open to interpretation.

“Any person who listens to it can connect to the song on their level,” she said. “Our people, our country, connects to it on a very different, deeper emotional level because of the tragedy we’ve been through.”

Previously, EBU have called out "targeted social media campaigns" against artists amid reported death threats for Israeli representative Eden Golan.

There have been fears this year's Eurovision will be a prominent target for Islamic extremists because of the inclusion of Golan. There are also concerns regarding cyberattacks and Sweden's NATO membership, all of which threaten Eurovision’s motto of “United by Music”.

The Eurovision Song Contest semi-finals are on Tuesday 7 and Thursday 9 May before the Grand Final on Saturday 11 May.

Additional sources • AFP

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