It seems strange that Australia and Israel participate in “Eurovision” but that’s not necessarily the strangest feature of the music extravaganza that, this year, featured an Icelandic BDSM punk band and a yodelling Norwegian.
Whatever you think of the music, the outfits, or any other aspect of the show, there is no doubt that Eurovision is a celebration of diversity. After all, the competition debuted in the wake of World War II to bring a divided continent closer together. And, being hosted in Israel for the first time in two decades, the show was a chance to show off the diversity in Israel.
That was achieved through the spectacular ‘postcards’ in which participants danced at iconic Israeli locations – from beaches and boardwalks to vineyards, ancient fortresses and solar panel fields. As well as the diverse geography, Israel’s diversity was also on display in the parties around Tel Aviv.
Eurovision is also about tolerance and how better to show Israel’s tolerance than the Shalva band – a group, comprised of young people with disabilities, that performed a beautiful rendition of “A Million Dreams”– and the fact that the Israeli broadcaster of Eurovision made sure there was sign language available, an option with enhanced audio description for the blind and visually impaired, and a livestream designed for people with cognitive disabilities.
With an audience of than 200 million people, Eurovision is a showcase of diversity and tolerance. Israel is also a showcase of the same, in a part of the world not known for tolerance. The winner of the 26-nations’ competition was The Netherlands and so the show will take place there in 2020.
However, the real winner this year, and in all years, is diversity and tolerance. Long may Israel continue to participate.