Singer Eden Alene is set to represent Israel at Tuesday night’s Eurovision song contest in the Netherlands as Israel’s first Ethiopian Jewish contender, with war still raging at home between Israel at the Palestinian Hamas terrorist organization.
Alene’s song, “Set Me Free,” includes a Mariah Carey-style high note, which would be the highest note ever sung in the Eurovision contest’s history if she manages to hit her pitch, as she has done in rehearsal performances leading to the event.
Israel has won the Eurovision contest before, most recently in 2018, when Netta Barzilai won for her song, “Toy.” Her victory came shortly before the U.S. officially opened its embassy in Jerusalem, and was part of a nationwide outpouring of celebration.
Today, the circumstances are quite different. The Eurovision contest will have a smaller live audience due to the coronavirus, which forced last year’s event to be canceled. And the ongoing war means that some Israelis will watch from bomb shelters.
Moreoover, the Eurovision song contest has been under pressure to “cancel” Alene and the Israeli delegation. As the Times of Israel reports, former Ireland representatives Jedward took to Twitter to support the Palestinians and demand a boycott of Israel:
Calling ACTION Now @Eurovision to remove Israel 🇱 from this years contest! the world is watching you! Justice for Palestinians 🇵🇸
— JEDWARD (@planetjedward) May 12, 2021
Despite such efforts, Alene will continue in the competition.
She posted an Instagram message to her fans back home in Israel: “Every moment onstage it was impossible for me not to think of my loved ones and the nation I represent. I’m here in Holland, but my heart is always with you, aching, loving, supporting and worriedly following all that’s happening in Israel.”
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