The Irony of Orthodox Jews Competing to Represent Israel at Eurovision

Choosing Israel’s Eurovision representative means excluding certain groups, as painful as that may be

Itay Stern
Itay Stern
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Itay Stern
Itay Stern

“The six contestants that have been chosen can go on dreaming about taking part in the Eurovision song contest,” said emcee Liron Weizman, wrapping up the recent “Battle of the Giants” episode of the Israeli “X Factor” reality TV show. Two of the “dreamers” Weizman was referring to are: Shahar Edwi, a young Haredi man who sang “Dreams Like Joseph,” by Hanan Ben Ari, and moved on to the competition’s next stage despite a performance that was described as being problematic; and Ilay Elmakys, who sports a black kippa and sang Eyal Golan’s “You Touched My Heart” – overwhelming the judges, as well as this writer, with piercingly clear singing that effortlessly spilled out of him.

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