Good News Friday – Eurovision2019 Edition

It’s back to normal programming for now with this week’s Good News Friday installment.

This week the news in Israel has been dominated, not by missiles or Iran or even the formation of a new government, but by something MUCH more important! The Eurovision Song Contest. This silly competition, with all its campness and glitz and showiness, has captured Israel’s attention because it is being held in Tel Aviv, due to Netta Barzilai’s fantastic win last year. The competition has brought thousands of tourists as well as all the competitors and their support staff so it has been a brilliant boost to Israel’s tourist industry.

The Shalva Band performing at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv

No matter who wins on Saturday night, the real winners (whom I wrote about here) were the Shalva Band who sang in the interval during last night’s second semi-finals. Words can hardly describe how exceedingly good they are. Everyone was rooting for them, not only because they all have disabilities of one sort or another, but because they simply are so exceptionally talented.

Originally they were supposed to represent Israel in the Eurovision, and there is no doubt they would have won because they are head and shoulders above everyone else. But with some of them being Shabbat-observant Jews, they could not take part in the competition itself. But their fans would not accept this sad state of affairs, and the organizers decided to let the band star in the interval.

In truth this was a much better solution. Their music and the composition of the band itself is of such a quality that the Eurovision is much too low a level for them. Let them shine in their own right.

And shine they did!

An emotional performance by the Shalva Band at Thursday’s Eurovision second semifinal earned widespread praise from viewers in both Israel and abroad, who hailed the band for its message of inclusivity and acceptance.

Shalva Band, which dropped its widely supported bid to represent Israel at the Eurovision contest in order to avoid performing on the Sabbath, took to the stage Thursday as guest artists, performing the song “A Million Dreams.”

Following the performance, thousands of Eurovision fans took to Twitter to praise the band, whose members are made up of musicians with disabilities.

The Eurovision organization called the band inspirational for “inspiring us to think differently about challenges and acceptance,” while many viewers at home said the performance brought them to tears.

The group received a long standing ovation at the end of their act, and host Bar Refaeli appeared to be holding back tears as she remarked on their performance.

The Shalva Band were finalists on the reality TV show “Rising Star,” that was to determine Israel’s entry for the annual song contest taking place this week in Tel Aviv, but the group quit the show over the prospect of being forced to break the Jewish day of rest if selected as the winner.

I bet your eyes have misted up as much as mine now!

The background to their Eurovision appearance despite their not competing is explained:

The Shalva Band were finalists on the reality TV show “Rising Star,” that was to determine Israel’s entry for the annual song contest taking place this week in Tel Aviv, but the group quit the show over the prospect of being forced to break the Jewish day of rest if selected as the winner.

And their Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of G-d’s name) by refusing to violate the Sabbath has repaid them beautifully:

On Friday, the band’s artistic director, Shai Ben Shushan told Army Radio that despite forgoing participation in the song contest, they had received numerous invitations to play shows abroad in the wake of Thursday’s performance.

“We were invited to play shows in Europe,” he said in an interview. But Ben Shushan stressed that if the band decided to go on tour, they would not abandon their goal of helping make life accessible to disabled Israelis.

“The heart-warming response from the public is so much more important to us than Eurovision,” he said.

Even the BBC had high praise for Shalva:

Huge kol hakavod to the Shalva Band, their mentors and supporters and teachers, for bringing their beautiful, heartfelt music to the whole world. Israel is blessed to have such wonderful people in our midst and we are so proud of them!

The Eurovision has provided a great opportunity for Israel to showcase its beauty and diversity, and indeed the Israeli organizers have taken full advantage.

Here is Stand With Us’s Eurovision promo video:


The Eurovision has also provided us with a gigantic #BDSFail against all those haters who cannot bear to see Israel being seen in a positive light or even being associated with anything enjoyable. Despite BDS’s greatest efforts, Madonna is going to appear at tomorrow night’s final:

I’ll never stop playing music to suit someone’s political agenda nor will I stop speaking out against violations of human rights wherever in the world they may be,” Madonna said in a statement to Reuters.

Last month, Pink Floyd vocalist and BDS overlord Roger Waters appealed to Madonna to rethink her decision to perform at Israel’s Eurovision, saying it “normalizes the occupation, the apartheid, the ethnic cleansing, the incarceration of children, the slaughter of unarmed protesters.”

Good for Madonna! Kol hakavod to her for standing up to such hateful pressure.

During the song contest, in between each nation’s song a “postcard” video clip of the singer in one of Israel’s beauty spots was played. The Kan TV news channel combined the postcards into a lovely fun video with Israel’s first Eurovision win, “Abanibi”, playing in the background:


What a great change to see such joy and fun being celebrated in Israel, without any of the controversy of politics or hate.

Well done to all the organizers and participants of Eurovision, and may the best band win!

Shabbat Shalom everyone.

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3 Responses to Good News Friday – Eurovision2019 Edition

  1. cba says:

    I’m so glad you posted about Shalva Band again! I cried when I watched their song, and I have cried every time I’ve re-watched the video (I’ve now lost count of how many times). They are such an inspiration on so many levels, and I’m delighted their talents have been showcased as they deserve. May they go from strength to strength!

  2. Pingback: Good News Friday – Eurovision2019 Edition – 24/6 Magazine

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