ISRAEL is set to take part in next year’s Eurovision Song Contest, it has emerged.
Doubts had been raised over whether the country would participate given its ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza.
However Israel yesterday appeared on the official list of the 37 countries taking part, shared by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and Sweden’s public television company SVT.
Some Spanish fans on X (formerly Twitter) branded the song contest ‘sick and twisted’ and called for a boycott of the competition.
Another accused the contest of ‘double standards’ after Russia was banned from taking part following its invasion of Ukraine.
The 68th edition of the song contest will be held in May. It is taking place in Malmo, Sweden, following Loreen’s victory earlier this year with her hit Tattoo.
However the news that Israel will be performing has sparked backlash among some Eurovision fans.
On October 7, Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel, killing more than 1,400 civilians.
Israel launched a massive retaliation which has so far caused more than 15,000 Palestinian civilian deaths.
The war has led to growing demands for a ceasefire to end the bloodshed, which so far appear to have fallen on deaf ears.
Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez last week said he had ‘frank doubts’ about Israel’s actions in Gaza and whether they complied with international humanitarian law.
The comments came after a poll in October by 20Minutos suggested people in Spain had more sympathy for Palestine than Israel, although by a margin of around 4%.
However more Spaniards (23.2%) had a ‘dislike’ of Israel, compared to those who had a ‘dislike’ of Palestine (14.7%).
The backlash against Israel taking part in Eurovision is hardly the song contest’s first controversy, however.
This year the it faced accusations of a ‘fix’, as many fans believed the jury voted for Loreen to ensure Sweden would host the contest on the 50th anniversary of ABBA’s win.
The iconic Swedish band won the contest back in 1974 with their song Waterloo.