Israel Heading to Eurovision Despite Security Snag

Michael Ben David and the Israeli delegation now have alternative security arrangements in place after Foreign Ministry workers refused to provide them due to an ongoing labor dispute

Itay Stern
Itay Stern
Israel's Eurovision representative, Michael Ben David
Israel's Eurovision representative, Michael Ben DavidCredit: Kan
Itay Stern
Itay Stern

An Israeli delegation is heading to the Eurovision Song Contest in Turin, Italy, despite a Foreign Ministry strike that had threatened to derail its participation earlier this month, Israel's public broadcaster, Kan, said on Thursday.

The Shin Bet security service and a private Italian security team will now provide security for Israel's Eurovision performer, Michael Ben David, and a delegation that includes dancers, Kan representatives and a hair and makeup team. They are slated to fly to Italy this coming Sunday.

Earlier in April, Foreign Ministry employees in Israel and Italy had said they would refuse to handle the necessary security arrangements for the Israeli delegation as part of their ongoing strike over employment conditions.

In a statement, Kan thanked the Shin Bet for stepping in, adding, "We are certain Michael Ben David will represent Israel with honor on the world stage. Arrivederci."

Ben-David is scheduled to appear in the second semi-final stage of the competition, on May 12, when he will face some performers who are considered favorites this year, according to betting odds: representatives from Australia, Poland and Sweden. Ben-David has placed near the bottom of those odds, coming in at 36th place out of 40. At the top are members of the Ukrainian group Kalush Orchestra.

The Foreign Ministry worker strike has been ongoing for four months, following the refusal of the finance and foreign ministries to discuss terms of employment of the workers, and particularly the subject of overtime pay.

The Eurovision final is set to take place on May 14.

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