Netanyahu’s hero’s praise for Israel’s Eurovision singer – as Irish act rages at organisers

Israel’s prime minister has paid tribute to the country’s Eurovision performer – as Ireland’s contestant continues to criticise organisers and an Israeli broadcaster.

Switzerland won this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in a competition fraught with last-minute changes, backstage incidents and boos for the boss.

Israel’s Eden Golan was clapped, cheered, booed and jeered when she took to the stage to perform her song Hurricane at the Malmo Arena in Sweden.

Despite only scoring 52 points from jury votes, the 20-year-old finished in fifth place after receiving an audience score of 323 points – including 12 points from the UK’s public vote.

Ms Golan told Sky News she was “over the moon” with the result and had ignored all of the controversy surrounding her performance.

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Ms Golan and said she had brought “honour” to the country.

He said: “They booed you and we shouted ‘douze points’.

“I saw that you received almost the highest number of votes from the public and this is the most important thing, not from the judges but from the public, and you held Israel’s head up high in Europe.

“You have brought immense pride to the state of Israel and the people of Israel. Congratulations.”

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Israel’s participation left the event struggling to maintain its apolitical stance

Ms Golan responded that she was “proud to have the privilege” of representing Israel.

She added: “We accomplished the impossible and it was a great privilege.

“I felt our country’s love and everyone’s support, and it was unforgettable.”

Pic: Reuters
Ireland’s Bambie Thug performing Doomsday Blue. Pic: Reuters/Leonhard Foeger

Meanwhile, Bambie Thug has accused the contest’s organisers of not supporting Ireland over a row with Israel.

The “ouji pop” star secured a sixth place finish with their song Doomsday Blue in Ireland’s first grand final of the music event since 2018.

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Five moments you might have missed
The controversy and chaos

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The performer, who is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, has been outspoken about their pro-Palestinian views and has accused Israeli broadcaster Kan of a rule break.

They said they have been waiting to hear back from the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) about what action would be taken against Israel – in hope that “next year they won’t be able to compete”.

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Bambie Thug rounded off their performance saying ‘love will always triumph hate’

Bambie Thug – who missed a dress rehearsal amid the row – accused the EBU of allowing Ireland to be “scapegoats”.

They said: “They waited to the last minute, we still haven’t gotten statement back to us, allowed us to be scapegoats, allowed us to be the spokesperson for standing up for ourselves.

“And yeah, the broadcaster has disobeyed the rules and I hope next year they won’t be able to compete because of that.”

Bambie Thug also spoke of pressure and stress behind the scenes, but said they were proud of Switzerland’s non-binary performer Nemo for winning, adding: “I just want to say we are what Eurovision is. The EBU is not what the Eurovision is.

“F*** the EBU, I don’t even care anymore. F*** them.”

The EBU has been contacted for comment.

Pic: AP
The UK’s Olly Alexander performing Dizzy. Pic: AP/Martin Meissner

The UK’s Olly Alexander has also broken his silence after placing 18th in the competition with his song Dizzy.

Although the Years & Years singer received 46 points from the jury, he was awarded zero points in the public vote.

On Instagram on Sunday, he shared a post from the official Eurovision account announcing Switzerland as the winner, adding: “Nemo! You did it! I’m so, so proud of you.

“It’s been such an honour to be on this journey with you. You broke the code!”

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