Israel Halts Eurovision Ticket Sale After Irregularities Found

Police also investigating suspicions of large-scale scalping of tickets already sold

Kobi Marimi performs in 'The Next Star' finale, February 12, 2019.
Ortal Dahan

Israel's public broadcaster, Kan, is investigating suspicions of irregularities in sales of tickets for the Eurovision song contest after tickets sold out within an hour on Thursday.

According to Kan, "regulatory systems of the corporation identified an attempt to interfere in ticket sales, and suspects that hundreds of tickets, worth hundreds of thousands of shekels ... were sold to senior figures in entertainment and sports instead of being offerefd to the public."

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Kan published the statement a day after Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan ordered the Israel Police on Saturday to take immediate action against ticket scalping.

Erdan asked the police to stop the illegal online trade in tickets and to put an end to the exploitation of the fans and tourists, who are expected to visit the country in May.

According to a clause in the Israeli penal code, reselling concert tickets is prohibited and constitutes a criminal felony.

"Exploitation of the public via ticket scalping is an ugly and illegal phenomenon. It cannot be that a joyful, historic event with an international audience in attendance will be weaponized by criminals who are marring the image of the state," Erdan said.

The second round of ticket sales, planned for April, has been postponed pending investigation.