Less than 24 hours after Netta Barzilai’s win in Lisbon, Israel has already started preparing to host the Eurovision 2019 song contest. Public debates on the dates, location and artistic program of the competition have already begun.

Netta Barzilai

Netta Barzilai Photo Credit: Eurovision.tv

Netta Barzilai’s win in the Eurovision 2018 song contest in Lisbon yesterday means that Israel will host the 2019 competition. In the following year, Israel will have to produce the show, choose the facilitators and decide where the show will take place.

Shortly after the announcement of Barzilai’s win, a public debate on the location of next year’s competition began. While there are those who claim that the show should be hosted in Tel Aviv, the Jerusalem municipality published a picture on the official Facebook page of the arena in the city, which suggests that the competition will take place there.

Israel had previously hosted the international competition in Jerusalem International Convention Center. However, the hall is old-fashioned and no longer capable of meeting the high expectations of the Eurovision Song Contest fans.

The 2019 competition will be held in the same format as this year, with two semi-finals and a finals round. Tentative dates have already been set for the events. The semi-finals are scheduled for May 23 and 21 and the big finale will take place the two days later. However, the German Cup final is already slated for May 25, and the Eurovision management might decide to run the competition ahead of schedule.

Many Israelis are concerned by the intervention of various politicians in the ceremony next year. Traditionally, Eurovision has tried to avoid any involvement with politics, so it is possible that political elements will not be involved in the production.

Another issue that will have to be decided on is the artistic program. The last time Israel hosted the competition, in 1999, singer Dana International performed the song “Free” against the walls of the Old City. The huge production was attended by hundreds of dancers and directed by the esteemed director Tzadi Zarfati.

As the host, Israel is automatically in the final stage of the competition next year, together with England, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.