Eurovision officials tour Israel

Officials from the European Broadcasting Union toured Israel this week ahead of the final decision of next year‘s Eurovision host city.

As The Jerusalem Post, the three cities in the running to host the competition are Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Eilat. Over the course of two days, the EBU delegation visited the three sites and met with local officials.

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"We are open to out of the box solutions, as we were in the past, if they would meet the schedule," Jon Ola Sand, executive supervisor of the EBU said after completing his tour.

In Jerusalem, Sand and other EBU and KAN officials visited the Payis Arena, in Tel Aviv they toured the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds and in Eilat they met with the city‘s deputy mayor, who explained its ambitious construction plan. The delegation is slated to leave Israel on Thursday evening after days of meetings and deliberations.

While Sand‘s statement indicated that Eilat is still in the running, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are seen as the front-runners to host the contest. The criteria KAN published last month note that it will give a “significant advantage” to a city offering an existing venue. The criteria also state that the EBU has a non-flexible schedule, which includes a great deal of activity on the weekends – likely a warning to Jerusalem, the city with the biggest Shabbat desecration concerns.

However, the recent brouhaha over a bridge construction on Saturday in Tel Aviv has proven that Shabbat will be an issue no matter where the competition is held.

On Wednesday, the Eurovision Twitter account posted: "A final decision on the host city and venue for the #Eurovision Song Contest 2019 is expected to be made soon!"

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A KAN representative told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that the announcement will arrive "in early September."

In June, the EBU had said the decision would be made "by September." Progress was likely delayed by KAN required earlier this month to fund the initial deposit. Last year, Lisbon was announced as the Eurovision host city in late July.

The EBU is expected to announce the dates of the competition the same day it announces the host city. The grand finale is most likely to be held on either May 18 or May 25, to avoid conflict with Israel‘s Holocaust Remembrance Day and Independence Day.

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