Israel's Eurovision makeover
by: Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2006-10-11
Following one of its worst results in contest history, Israel is to radically alter its approach to selecting a song and performer to represent the country at Eurovision 2007.
In previous years, the song and singer were chosen at Kdam-Eurovision, a televised event in which viewers got to choose Israel's representation. Next year, Israel has decided that their song will be chosen by an internal committee. Reports coming out of Israel suggest that the TV network IBA is reducing its entertainment output and scrapping the Kdam altogether, after suffering financial problems.
This year saw one of Israel's worst ever performances in the contest, when singer Eddie Butler finished 23rd with his entry Together We Are One. As a result Israel will have to take part in next year's semi-final to compete for a place in the main contest.
An insider told SomethingJewish: "This is probably a blessing in disguise. Allowing the public to vote this year was a disaster. Quite clearly we need people who know a good tune when they hear one as well as a good performer when they see one. And that means getting professionals to choose, rather than the public then hopefully we won't have to be in this humiliating situation next year."
Israel last won the contest in 1998 with Dana International's Diva, which was chosen by an internal committee.
"We need to raise our game next year, and that means taking no risks with our song, especially as we have the semi-finals to get through this time," the insider added. "It's too risky to just let the public vote on such an important decision."
Among the musical big guns Israel could roll out for next year are flamenco singer Ishtar, singer-songwriter Chava Alberstein and Har'el Ska'at, runner-up of Israeli talent show Star Academy.
Next year's contest will be held in the Finnish capital Helsinki on May 10 and 12.