Turkish PM: Israel cheated in Eurovision contest to fuel religious war

PM Yildirim claimed the Eurovision was rigged in Israel’s favor so that the contest would be held in Jerusalem and trigger a religious war.   

By: World Israel News Staff

Israel’s victory in this year’s Eurovision song contest was a set-up aimed to ensure next year’s competition would be held in Jerusalem and thus fuel inter-religious strife, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım charged Friday.

“This year the song contest became very ideological. This year they made Israel win so that it can be organized in Israel for the first time. They made Israel win although it did not receive enough votes,” Yıldırım said on Turkish Babala TV.

Yıldırım claimed that the rules for voting were changed intentionally so as to manipulate the results in favor of Israel.

“They do it on purpose, to fuel the strife between religions. Israel’s singer is not a good one. Israel only knows how to kill, Israel does not know how to sing,” he said.

He did not directly say who “they” were or who was behind the alleged swindle, but it appears he was accusing Israel of cheating.

Speaking to IDF Radio on Sunday, Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz dismissed the accusations as “unworthy of a response.”

Israel’s Netta Barzilai won the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest in May with a catchy techno dance tune about women’s empowerment.

The 25-year-old beat out competition from 42 other countries’ performers to claim the music extravaganza’s annual crown at the grand finale with her song “Toy.”

Her win — Israel’s fourth but its first since 1998 — could mean that Jerusalem will host next year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

“Next time in Jerusalem!” Barzilai shouted to the audience as she accepted her award.

Counter to Yidlrin’s claim, Jerusalem hosted the Eurovision song contest twice, in 1979 and 1999, without causing any religious clashes.

Israel has not decided on the location for the 2019 contest. Several cities, including Jerusalem, are being considered for the prestigious venue.

Turkey has not participated in the Eurovision contest since 2013, when it claimed there was discrimination in favor of the large countries belonging to the European Union.