Israel set to pull out of live Eurovision show after diplomats go on strike

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Israel set to pull out of live Eurovision show after diplomats go on strike

Broadcaster Kan says an Israeli foreign ministry strike means Michael Ben David may not appear on stage at next month's contest

Michael Ben David was due to represent Israel at the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest in Turin
Michael Ben David was due to represent Israel at the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest in Turin

The Israeli delegation will no longer attend the Eurovision Song Contest in Italy, its national broadcaster has announced.

Kan said a strike at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Israel had affected its “security protocols”.

Michael Ben David is due to represent the country with the song IM after winning the Israeli version of the X Factor.

However, the announcement throws his performance into doubt.

Kan did not confirm whether the singer will compete using a pre-recorded performance aired during the contest.

A tweet from the broadcaster said: “As of now, due to the Ministry of Foreign affairs strike, that affects the security protocols, the Israeli delegation will not attend the Eurovision in Turin.”

A statement from Eurovision said: “We are aware of the statement made by KAN this morning and are in dialogue with them about Israel’s continued participation in this year’s event.”

Russia has been banned from competing at this year’s contest following the invasion of Ukraine.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which produces the event, said the inclusion of a Russian entry at the contest in May would bring the event into “disrepute”.

The union had previously said it intended to allow Russia to compete but faced strong criticism from state broadcasters in countries including Iceland, Finland, Norway and the Netherlands.

The 2021 competition was held in Rotterdam, Netherlands, after the show was cancelled in 2020, and won by Italy’s rock band Maneskin with their song Zitti E Buoni.

The UK was handed a crushing defeat as singer James Newman was the only entrant to score zero points from both the jury and public vote, coming bottom of the leaderboard.

The Eurovision grand final will be broadcast on BBC One and BBC iPlayer and on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds from 8pm on May 14.

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