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Israeli Singer Eden Golan Bravely Defies Antisemitism to Reach Eurovision Finale: 'Gift from God'

Eden Golan

An Israeli singer advanced to the prestigious Eurovision finale last week, overcoming conflict over her song title that previously mentioned "October" and opposition from thousands of anti-Israel protestors outside the venue in Sweden.

Golan ultimately finished fifth in the Eurovision competition early Sunday morning.

Her amazing rise to the top came at a moment when Israel needed a boost of confidence as even its most prominent ally, the U.S., has turned its back on the Jewish state's need for aid.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video saying, "Eden, I would like to wish you success, but you are already successful! You are competing, proudly and impressively, not only in the Eurovision but you are successfully competing against an ugly wave of antisemitism, and are standing up to it, honorably representing Israel."

The 20-year-old singer was met with boos and shouts of "Free Palestine" earlier last week during a dress rehearsal performance for the competition.

Pro-Palestinian activists had been holding protests outside the Malmö Arena in Sweden waving Palestinian flags and banners that say "genocide," according to The Independent U.K. 

Golan has also faced intimidation and had to be escorted to the arena by more than 100 Swedish police officers Thursday in an envoy.

"Eden Golan, our fellow artist, cannot leave her hotel room in fear for her life because she is Jewish. This is 2024. I call on every artist to join me in condemning publicly this despicable act of hate. This is a time for choosing. Your silence is complicit," singer and songwriter John Ondrasik posted on X.

The Israeli singer was almost disqualified from the competition for her song "October Rain," which was said to have lyrics referencing the horrific attack on October 7th by Hamas.

Israel's national broadcaster, Kan, reached out to the songwriters to "readjust the texts, with full artistic freedom" before submitting the song to the Eurovision Broadcasting Union, the Metro U.K. reports.

The original lyrics included lines such as "There's no air left to breathe" and "They were all good children, each one of them."

Critics of the original song say it was "spreading propaganda" and contained a political message because of its reference to the day the Hamas terror group brutally slaughtered more than 1,200 innocent civilians; committed widespread acts of rape and other human rights abuses; and abducted hundreds of additional victims, including women and babies. 

Israel's President Isaac Herzog advocated for the lyrics to be changed so that the country could be represented in the competition during a contentious time. 

"The president emphasized that at this time in particular, when those who hate us seek to push aside and boycott the state of Israel from every stage, Israel must sound its voice with pride and its head high and raise its flag in every world forum, especially this year," Kan said in a statement

Golan moved forward in the competition performing a revised version of the song now entitled "Hurricane."

"'Hurricane' is a very strong, emotional power ballad," she explains. "The song is about a person going through something within themselves....a hurricane of emotions [and] feelings."

And although some are boycotting the finale because of the Israeli singer's performance, thousands are supporting this talented young woman. 

"I'm coming here to show my voice, to share my love, my gift from God and to hopefully make people feel something and to leave a mark in their souls and unite by music," she said.

The gender-fluid Swiss singer Nemo, one of the favorites, was the overall winner in the competition, followed by entries from Croatia, Ukraine, France and Golan from Israel.

Sweden was chosen to host the event after the Swedish entry won last year's contest. That gave nation the opportunity to honor the 50th anniversary of the supergroup ABBA's victory in the 1974 predecessor to the Eurovision contest which launched the group's storied career.

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