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Will Gaza war douse Israel’s Eden Alene’s Eurovision chances?

CM 18/05/2021

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 Israeli Eurovision fans have a lot to look forward to Tuesday night, as the European song contest, which was postponed from last year due to the coronavirus, will open in Rotterdam and will feature a performance by Eden Alene, Israel’s contestant.  But some Eurovision watchers have been speculating that backlash against Israel due to the war will harm Alene’s chances of making it to the next round. 

She will perform 12th in the first group of semi-finalists when the contest opens at 10 p.m. Israel time and the event will be broadcast live on KAN 11. Alene, Israel’s first Eurovision contestant of Ethiopian descent, is believed to be Israel’s strongest Eurovision representative in years. Alene was raised in Jerusalem’s Katamon neighborhood by a single mother who immigrated from Ethiopia, and later moved with her family to Kiryat Gat. Her song, “Set Me Free,” by Amit Mordechai, Ido Netzer, Noam Zaltin and Ron Carmi, is a self-empowerment anthem about getting out of a toxic relationship, but it also has a message for anyone seeking freedom. Previously, she was set to perform “Feker Libi,” a song in Hebrew, Arabic, Amharic and English, but the song was switched during the past year.
She posted a clip on her Instagram account on Tuesday, saying, “It’s just seconds before the semi finals and I’m super super excited, I’m dying to perform and to do my best for Israel.”


According to the Wiwibloggs website, the song features the highest note in the contest’s history and it reported that during her first rehearsal, Alene hit the note four times and repeated this accomplishment in subsequent rehearsals. According to the website, “So, now, we think it’s safe to assume that on 18 May Eden will break the record for Eurovision’s highest note, set by Maja Blagdan on 18 May 1996, exactly 25 years ago. Until 2021, only 10 people (all women) managed to reach the difficult sixth octave on the Eurovision stage. On the night of semi-final one, Eden will attempt to hit the highest note within that octave — the nearly-impossible B6.”
The Netherlands is hosting the 65th song contest, which is watched by a television audience of about 200 million, because Dutch singer-songwriter Duncan Laurence won the 2019 contest with the song “Arcade,” when the event was held in Tel Aviv. The contest is held each year in the home country of the previous year’s winner and in 2018, Netta Barzilai became Israel’s fourth Eurovision winner with her rousing rendition of “Toy.”

Israel began participating in Eurovision in 1973 and, prior to Barzilai’s win, took home the top prize in  in 1978 and 1979, with wins for Izhar Cohen and the Alphabeta, with the song “A-Ba-Ni-Bi” and Milk and Honey, with “Hallelujah,” and then again in 1998 with “Diva” by the transgender artist, Dana International. 
Alene posted a message on Instagram earlier this week referring to the war with Gaza saying,  “I am in Holland now, but my heart is with you every minute, hurting, loving, strengthening, and following with worry everything that is happening in Israel.” 

Source: Jerusalem Post

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