After Netta’s victory in Lisbon, there has been a lot of speculation as for where the Eurovision 2019 will be hosted. There have been many reports on the contest being taken from Israel and given to back- up hosts like Austria. However, the EBU announced Israel as the host of the 2019 contest, with the city being announced in September. But do the newly released hosting criteria for 2019 mean that Tel Aviv will be the 2019 host?
What do the criteria require?
Earlier in the day, the Israeli broadcaster KAN released the criteria for the selection of the Eurovision 2019 host city. Among others, the important ones include that:
- The venue must have a minimum 8,000 people and a maximum 12,000 people capacity, and should be in a covered space
- There must be at least 3,000 available hotel rooms in the city
- A press centre with a capacity for 1,500 journalists must be close to the venue
- The venue must be available for preparations from March to May 2019
However, there is a specific requirement, that the contest rehearsals should also take place during Shabbat. According to the rules of the EBU, there must be two general rehearsals on the Friday before the final, and one on Saturday afternoon, before the Grand Final begins.
The Israeli media believe that this special requirement means that Jerusalem will not agree to host the 2019 contest. The Haredi Jewish parties in Jerusalem might also vote against any proposal on the rehearsals taking part during Shabbat.
So, will Tel Aviv be the next host city?
With the new hosting criteria, one could say that Tel Aviv, who has also agreed on letting the rehearsals take part during Shabbat, might be closer than ever to hosting for the first time the Eurovision Song Contest. The Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv- Jaffa, Meital Lehavi has also commented: “Now that the criteria have been exposed and Tel Aviv-Jaffa can officially meet the conditions and host the Eurovision Song Contest, it is clear that this is where competition should take place. Tel Aviv is suitable both in terms of infrastructure, both in terms of number of guests and the possibilities offered them and in terms of being the city cultural center of Israel.”
The host city will be announced in September 2018, with five cities still in the race.