a different side of Israel

In Defense of the Finns and the Eurovision

Comments on the recent article appearing in this blog-site regarding Israel’s performance in the annual Eurovision song contest have unfortunately gotten out of hand, with a lot of misunderstandings. The dismal rankings by Israel in this contest was partially due to a song performed by a group who only consented to appear after other groups refused to take part. Singing an American type gospel melody was a bit out of place, even though some Hebrew lyrics were used.

Eurovision Israel has won the contest three times, more than many other participating countries, despite its small size and population. Through the years, many songs sung in the contest by Israeli performers have been good, and many others have not. That can also be said of other countries as well, including ones such as Ireland and the U.K. whose performers have always sung in English, their official language. When the ‘ground rules’ of the songfest where changed a few years ago, allowing non-English speaking countries to enter songs in English as well, many other countries, including Greece, Turkey, Russia, the Ukraine, etc., began placing better, and even winning the contest instead of placing far below others who had the advantage of singing in a more internationally acceptable language, which includes many of the “romance languages” as well.

As years went by, many countries began experimenting with using more dancing, physical gyrations and various fad type of costumes to improve their chances of winning, resulting in their actually taking home the coveted first prize. Countries using this method of increasing interest in their acts have recently included Germany, Russia, the Ukraine, and now Finland. For Finland, one of the more docile of the Nordic or Scandinavian countries, the decision to send this kind of an act to the contest was met with great debate and controversy by the Finns themselves, and was only allowed to proceed in its final format when public opinion allowed it to be done. Many Finnish citizens were afraid that the act might generate the type of opinion against them as was noted in the previous article.

As it turned out, however, the performance received tremendous praise and acclaim by not only the Finns themselves, but millions of viewers as well. The act’s originality and ‘campiness’ won out in the end, especially with younger viewers who voiced their approval by voting in favor of Finland’s entry.

Israel, who finished next to last, with only Malta receiving less votes, will undoubtedly continue to enter the songfest and may one day win again. The lesson to be learned by all is that many factors come into consideration. After all, why did all the Balkan countries vote heavily for each other, and why did so many former “satellite” countries of the former Soviet Union vote heavily for Russia? Alliances and politics do play a part in these events, as they do in other things as well. One must simply put all factors into proper perspective, and judge accordingly. After all, didn’t someone say the following saying, so long ago: “Judge not, lest ye be judged”?


  1. Since i force myself to sit through the contest every year as a matter of national pride (British and Israeli), i feel justified in adding my two shekelsworth to this:

    1. Fact: The Israeli entry this year was an OKish song, performed badly. (Sorry Eddie – you’re a good singer, but you sucked eggs up there on Saturday night.) In other words – it stunk. A fact represented by the voting.

    2. Fact: Much of the voting IS politically motivated, but only insomuch as some points are awarded by neighboring countries to their “pals”. Generally, the song that wins does so on merit of either talent of singer-and-songwriter, or overt campy gimmick, or a combination of both. The latter, i would dare to venture, was the case this year. Well done Finland. (I’ve been singing Monty Python’s “Finland, Finland, Finland all week in tribute.)

    3. Eurovision is the kitchiest and most vanilla song contest in all the world ever ever ever, and is revered and adored as such. It has moved worlds away from what it was intendeed to be at its original inception, although the quality of the music is pretty much the same.

    4. Anyone who doesn’t watch it to listen to Terry Wogan’s off-the-cuff witty banter is missing out.

    Here endeth the lesson.

  2. Hey Deb,

    Read the first posted article about the Eurovision. It received so many really nasty comments that a followup one was necessary to try to mellow everyone down.

    Yes Israel’s entry could have been better; but this year, unfortutately, none of the ‘regular’ types of Israeli entrants wanted to join the party.

    Oh well, maybe next year an Israeli team will come forth an rectify this year’s attempt- maybe dresssed up like Macabbees, etc.

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