Last-minute Loan Deal Between Treasury, Broadcaster Saves Israeli Eurovision

Public broadcaster to secure a bank loan to cover deposit, production costs

Itay Stern
Itay Stern
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
Itay Stern
Itay Stern

A solution has been found to enable Israel to host the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, after two days of frantic negotiations on Monday and Tuesday between the Finance Ministry and Israel’s new public broadcasting corporation.

To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz

The Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation, known as Kan, will take out a 50 million shekel ($13.5 million) loan to help cover the cost of hosting the event, which is broadcast around the world. Kan was required to post a 12 million euro ($13.7 million) deposit by Tuesday with the European Broadcasting Union, which sponsors Eurovision.

In return, the Finance Ministry will commit to cover the loan amount if the competition is ultimately not held in Israel, due to extenuating circumstances such as an earthquake, war or a political boycott of the event organized by the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

Kan, which represents Israel on the EBU, had said it was willing to cede production of the event to another Israeli broadcaster, rather than endanger its own financial stability. The public broadcaster had said it would not take an outside loan because that it was afraid it would lead to a large budget deficit that would harm its ability to operate and meet its commitments if something went wrong with the Eurovision show.

On Monday, treasury officials made it clear to Kan management that if the Eurovision contest was not held in Israel next year because of the broadcaster’s refusal to take out a loan, then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would do everything in his power to pass a law to close down the new public broadcaster during the next Knesset session — with the full backing of Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon.

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.” Kan warned Sunday that if the government failed to provide funding for the production of the event and to provide required the 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 said the hosting of the Eurovision in Israel was of great importance to the Israel’s image and as an economic boost for the country.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN


United Arab List chairman Mansour Abbas in the Knesset on Monday.

Arab Voters Will Decide if Israel's Far-right Wins Power

A young Zeschke during down time, while serving with the Wehrmacht in Scandinavia.

How a Spanish Beach Town Became a Haven for Nazis

Ayelet Shaked.

What's Ayelet Shaked's Next Move?

נתניהו עם כיפה שחורה על הראש נשען בשתי ידיו על הכותל

Israel Is Heading for Its Most 'Jewish' Election Ever

An El Al jet sits on the tarmac at John C. Munro International Airport in Hamilton, Thursday, in 2003.

El Al to Stop Flying to Toronto, Warsaw and Brussels

FILE PHOTO: A Star of David hangs from a fence outside the dormant landmark Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood in 2021.

American Judaism Is in Decline. That's Great News for American Jews