It seems that the Haifa, in the North of Israel, intends to get the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 to their city!
Right after Netta had won Eurovision with ‘Toy’, everything seemed to point at next year’s edition being held in Jerusalem. This, however, is a sensitive issue as both Israel and Palestina claim Jerusalem as their capital city, more specifically East Jerusalem (the Old City in particular).
Many countries had relocated their embassies to the country’s second-biggest city, Tel Aviv, as to not raise tensions but with Donald Trump’s deciding to move the embassy to Jerusalem again and it having been opened there already, it has become an incredibly hot issue again.
Recently a friendly match between Israel and Argentina was meant to be held. The Argentinian football team was completely okay with it being staged in Haifa but Minister of Culture Miri Regev insisted on it being held in Jerusalem. In the end Argentina cancelled the entire match because they didn’t feel safe and wanted to focus entirely on their participation in the World Cup, which is about to start next week.
Minister Regev was adamant on the Eurovision Song Contest being held in Jerusalem as well, but with the recent Argentinian cancellation in mind, it has been felt that maybe an alternative hosting city will be needed. Haifa could step in here with the Sammy Ofer stadium who with 30.000 seats sits well above the EBU-requirement of at least 10.000 seats.
The Mayor of Haifa, Yona Yahav, says:
“We have just sent a letter to the director general of the Ministry of Culture and Sport, Yossi Sharabi, in which we expressed our intention to compete for the Eurovision Song Contest. Haifa has all the means and it meets all the conditions for hosting the competition. It is a peaceful city and a symbol of coexistence, and it is very worthy of hosting the competition on every level. “
She also added that they will turn to the EBU to tell them that they are ready to install a roof over the stadium (financed by the municipality) and, in case of there not being enough hotel rooms, they will also be building new ones.
The city of Haifa is working on a hosting plan right now, which will be ready in a few weeks, to be sent to the EBU for evaluation.