Security issues at Eurovision 2019 – EBU sends an urgent letter to Israel’s Prime Minister!

This is not an April Fool, but it’s really happening – there are major security issues concerning this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, as the regulatory and necessary checks at the venue that happen every year are still not being done in this year’s venue. The EBU has thus sent an urgent letter to the Israeli Prime Minister, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu to resolve the issues as soon as possible.

There is a rutine security search in the Eurovision Song Contest venue events called K9 Bomb Search. The Israeli police were instructed not do this in the arena nor to inspect the material used to build up the stage. KAN can not resume the work until this is done, thus this could create delays on the show, and generate extra costs to the show.

This became breaking news all over the Israeli media, and the original letter was published by the portal “Catalist”. You can read the letter in a PDF format on “Catalist”, via this link.

We copy the letter here as well:

Dear Prime Minister,

We are writing to you on a matter of utmost urgency and importance which needs that you take immediate action towards all the concerned authorities.

In our meeting of last October, you personally confirmed that the Eurovision Song Contest is an event of national importance for which security is the responsibility of the state; you guaranteed that the state will take all necessary steps to ensure that an event of such importance would be treated accordingly and that safety for all elements of the Eurovision Song Contest will be secured. It is already irritating enough that over the last few months there has been constant discussions on who is paying what for the external security measures around the Eurovision Song Contest. This all culminated yesterday, as we learned that the Israeli police has been instructed not to proceed with the inspection of the venue and equipment (so-called “K9 bomb search routine”) at the Eurovision Song Contest Venue.

Needless to say that with the level of exposure of an event like the Eurovision Song Contest, it is essential that such K9 bomb search routine be undertaken in all parts of the venue and for all entering equipment in line with state of the art security rules. Please be advised that this search routine has always been undertaken in all countries where the ESC has taken place in the past years and refraining from doing so would be unprecedented.

The EBU fully supports KAN’s statement issued yesterday and work cannot resume without the K9 bomb search routine being appropriately undertaken. Without a rapid turnaround of this instruction, the delays entailed by the absence of this essential security measure will have severe and significant negative consequences on the ability to hold the rehearsals on time and thus on the budget and on the quality of the shows that will be broadcast out of Tel Aviv.

Moreover, the EBU will have to inform the 41 delegations of this situation. As you may guess, in view of the recent events in Tel Aviv, this is already a delicate topic for the delegations. This new information will only raise more concerns and questions on the appropriateness of the security and safety measures implemented in Israel for the Eurovision Song Contest.

We trust that you will stand by your commitment and therefore urge to take immediate action to ensure that the K9 bomb search routine be undertaken promptly by the police today so that the work of the production team can resume immediately thereafter.

We are available for a discussion by phone at any time today as consequences could be disastrous for the Eurovision Song Contest and Israel.

The letter was signed by the Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, Mr. Jon Ola Sand, as well as by the Chairman of the Eurovision Reference Group, Mr. Frank-Dieter Freiling.

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