Eurovision Crisis Averted After Israel and Public Broadcaster Reach Deal

The Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation will take out a $13.5-million loan to help cover the cost of hosting the event

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Netta Barzilai after winning the Eurovision song contest
Netta Barzilai after winning the Eurovision song contest in Lisbon, May 12, 2018.Credit: Armando Franca/AP

A solution appears in the offing to a funding dispute between Israel's public broadcasting corporation and the government that could have deprived the country of the right to host next year's high-profile Eurovision song competition.

The Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation, which is commonly known as Kan, will apparently be taking out a 50 million shekel ($13.5 million) loan to help cover the cost of hosting the event, which is broadcast around the world. In return, the Finance Ministry would commit to cover the loan amount if the competition is ultimately not held in Israel, due to extenuating circumstances such as earthquake, war or a boycott organized by BDS, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement.

No official agreement has been reached on such a loan, however, and when asked about it by Haaretz, the broadcaster denied the existence of any such understanding.

Israel earned the right to host next year's televised song contest after Israeli singer Netta Barlizai won this year's competition in Lisbon in May with her song "Toy," but Kan warned on Sunday that if the government failed to provide funding for the production of the event and to provide a required 12 million euro ($13.7 million) deposit due on Tuesday, Israel's right to host the contest, with all the high-profile publicity that it brings, would slip through the country's hands.

Kan, which represents Israel on the European Broadcasting Union, the sponsor of Eurovision, had said it was willing to cede production of the event to another Israeli broadcaster, rather than endanger its own financial stability.