Israel unveils revised Eurovision song after lyrics controversy

By Thomson Reuters Mar 10, 2024 | 4:10 PM

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel unveiled its revised submission for the Eurovision song contest on Sunday, after organisers took issue with the original entry’s reference to the Oct. 7 Hamas onslaught. ‮ ‬

Israel agreed to change the original song titled “October Rain” when organizers said they would disqualify contestants who did not maintain the non-political spirit of the event.

Its original lyrics included: “There’s no air left to breathe” and “They were all good children, each one of them” – apparent allusions to people who holed up in shelters as Hamas gunmen carried out a killing and kidnapping spree at an outdoor music festival and other sites which sparked the war in Gaza.

The ballad performed on Sunday night by female soloist Eden Golan was called “Hurricane” and appeared to have more personal lyrics, including the lines: “Every day I’m loosing my mind” and “I’m still broken from this hurricane”.

“I think the message is clear,” Golan told Israeli national broadcaster Kan just before the performance. “It’s about a woman who is going through a personal crisis – a hurricane.”

Kan said it had asked the writers to revise the lyrics, while also preserving their artistic freedom.

It said it agreed to make the changes following a request from the country’s president, Isaac Herzog.

The Eurovision contest is due to take place on May 7-11 in the Swedish city of Malmo.

(Reporting by Emily Rose; Editing by Andrew Heavens)