May 19, 2019


So it’s all over.

What was billed to be the most controversial of all Eurovision contest venues has discharged its hosting with panache and aplomb.

There were no major gaffes - so common it seems whenever Israelis have to put together audio and visual on any given stage; g
reat at high tech but Muppets at the low.

Madonna braved the BDs-ers but not without making her own political statement. And as for the alt-gendered punks from Iceland, I do hope they get to do a rooftop gig in Ramallah or Gaza one day very soon.
For me the unsung heroes of the event are the Israeli police and particularly the Shin Bet. This event had to be the most tantalising target for terrorists – a captive crowd of performers from 26 countries, a convention centre filled with 7,000 people and an audience of 70,000 packed into the new ‘Eurovision Village’ across town. How the heck do you secure an event as big and as heaving as that in a country that was being rocketed just two weeks ago and has never enjoyed a day in its 71-year history outside the shadow of terrorism?

And how do you foil the most determined terrorists in denying them a 180 million TV audience to rival the World Cup and Superbowl?
On the ground, Iron Dome units were deployed in all corners whilst, in the skies, the IDF was in action over Syria even as the final songs were being sung. And all this in a country where one fifth of citizens are Israeli Arabs who, in the view of any security camera, are pretty indistinguishable from their PLO cousins in the West Bank who regularly slip under the radar to kill and maim with the assurance of rich rewards from Chairman Abbas.
Long after the Village has been cleared up and life returns to normal, I am sure we will be hearing stories about baddies whose plans were foiled during the event but not mentioned at the time, so as not to spook the participants.
So, hats off to the security forces for a spectacular job!
I can’t imagine what the cost of all the extra military and security efforts must have amounted to. Let’s hope it gets paid back in spades by way of tourism, when people who never pictured Israel other than some kind of war zone finally pluck up the courage to visit and discover the amazing oasis of culture and humanity that is the world’s only and most precious Jewish state.


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