Eden Golan prepares for Eurovision in Malmo under heavy security

The Israeli singer said the rehearsal atmosphere is one of ‘good vibes,’ even while security in Malmo has been increased to unprecedented levels.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Israel’s entrant for Eurovision 2024 is having fun preparing for her performance Thursday even while she and her team’s movements are being heavily restricted for their own safety.

Eden Golan told Channel 11 that “we’re enjoying ourselves” and that the rehearsals “are going really well.”

The other countries’ representatives in the annual song contest have not mentioned the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, and the atmosphere at the rehearsals is one of “good vibes,” she added.

Yet Golan has received personal death threats for months, and Israeli security personnel accompany the performers everywhere.

Her whole group was advised not to leave their hotel rooms unless absolutely necessary, and they are therefore missing out on celebratory events surrounding the contest.

The competition is taking place in Malmo, Sweden, a city with a large Muslim immigrant population and a recent history of antisemitism.

There is also possible danger due to the expected presence of thousands of protestors at the event who wanted Israel banned for its alleged commission of “war crimes” in its fight against the Hamas terrorist organization.

Israel’s National Security Council even issued a travel advisory to the city, based on a “well-founded concern that terrorist elements will exploit the protests and the anti-Israel mood to carry out attacks against Israelis attending Eurovision.”

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Swedish police are taking the threat seriously, with drone-mounted cameras surveilling the streets and heavily armed officers already on station as pre-contest festivities have already begun.

The security forces also decided to ban all demonstrations from the area around the arena where the live performances will be held, and no one will be allowed to enter with bags.

Flags of countries that do not participate in the contest have never been allowed at the shows, and the European Broadcasting Union, which runs the whole event, told AP last week that it reserves the right “to remove any other flags or symbols, clothing, items and banners being used for the likely purpose of instrumentalizing the TV shows.”

This would mean that the Palestinian flag would be confiscated on sight.

Golan’s song, Hurricane, is the third iteration of the Israeli entry. The first two were nixed for being too overtly “political” as they contained clear references to the Hamas invasion of Israel on October 7 and the atrocities they committed.

The reworked ballad is a love song that includes wording expressing sorrow and loss that was vague enough to pass muster, with Israelis definitely understanding it in connection to the war.

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The song has been viewed over five million times online and oddsmakers have Golan moving easily to the final round, which will be held on Saturday.