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For Israel’s contestant, the Eurovision Song Contest comes with tight security, boos and cheers

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For Israel’s contestant, the Eurovision Song Contest comes with tight security, boos and cheers
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MALMO, Sweden (AP) — Eden Golan is in Sweden for the Eurovision Tune Contest, however she will not be seeing a lot of the nation.

The 20-year-old Israeli singer is surrounded by safety as she travels between lodge and the competition venue within the metropolis of Malmo. In accordance with Israel’s public broadcaster, she practiced singing whereas being booed to organize for her efficiency within the pan-continental track competitors.

Golan has change into a spotlight for protests by pro-Palestinian demonstrators who need Israel kicked out of Eurovision over its battle in opposition to Hamas, which has killed nearly 35,000 individuals in Gaza.

A crowd estimated by police at greater than 10,000 marched by means of the southern Swedish metropolis on Thursday to chants of “Free Palestine” and “Israel is a terror state.” Banners accused Eurovision of being complicit in genocide and known as for a boycott of the competitors.

One other protest march is deliberate for Saturday, hours earlier than Golan competes within the dwell Eurovision ultimate in opposition to acts from 25 different international locations.

Golan has largely stayed out of sight in Malmo, aside from rehearsals and performances on the Malmo Enviornment. Whereas different performers have taken the stage for followers in a Eurovision park within the metropolis, Golan has not.

She was certainly one of 10 acts who made it by means of Thursday’s semifinal, which was determined by votes from Eurovision viewers world wide. Golan has been greeted with a smattering of boos, in addition to applause, from spectators within the area. Bookmakers say she is more likely to end within the prime half of the ultimate competitors, determined by a mixture of public votes and nationwide music-industry juries.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Golan for performing regardless of “contending with an unsightly wave of anti-Semitism.”

“So be blessed, and know that once they boo you, we’re cheering you on,” he mentioned.

Golan’s track is a strong ballad titled “Hurricane” – however that was not its unique identify. The track was first known as “October Rain,” an obvious reference to the Oct. 7 Hamas assault that killed about 1,200 Israelis and triggered the Gaza battle. That fell foul of contest guidelines banning “political” content material.

The retitled track comprises much less particular lyrics about going by means of a tricky time, and asserts that “love won’t ever die.”

Born in Israel to oldsters from the previous Soviet Union, Golan spent a lot of her childhood in Russia and carried out on TV expertise reveals there earlier than shifting again to Israel. She cites Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Whitney Houston and Justin Timberlake amongst her inspirations.

She has averted direct political statements, however mentioned it was “such an honor to characterize my nation, particularly in these occasions.”

Talking after the semi-final, Golan mentioned she was “overwhelmed with feelings.”

“I’m simply tremendous excited to go on stage as soon as extra and share a little bit of my love with everybody,” she mentioned.

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Related Press author Yesica Fisch in Jerusalem contributed to this story.

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