Israel agrees to revise Eurovision song lyrics that evoke October 7

Israel agrees to revise Eurovision song lyrics that evoke October 7
Israel's entry to the European singing competition reportedly references to the October 7 attack, and has agreed to make changes to the song's lyrics.
2 min read
Israel's inclusion in the 2024 competition has drawn criticism and calls for a ban due to the war in Gaza [Getty/file photo]

Israel has agreed to revise the lyrics of its potential submission to the Eurovision Song Contest after the contest organisers took issue with verses that were deemed 'too political' due to references to the October 7 attacks by Hamas, Israel's national broadcaster Kan said on Sunday.

Eurovision, which this year will take place on May 7-11 in the Swedish city of Malmo, bills itself as a non-political event and can disqualify contestants deemed to have breached that rule. Broadcaster Kan is tasked with choosing Israel's entry.

The leading Israeli submission is "October Rain", a ballad sung by female soloist Eden Golan.

According to lyrics leaked to the media, and later confirmed by Kan, it includes lines such as "There's no air left to breathe" and "They were all good children, each one of them" - apparent illusions to the events of October 7.

Since then, Israel has waged a deadly war on Gaza, killing at least 30,410 Palestinians as of Sunday and has carried out attacks and actions deemed as genocidal by several countries and rights groups.

Kan said it has asked the writers of "October Rain" and second-place finalist "Dance Forever" to revise their lyrics, while also preserving their artistic freedom. It will then officially choose the song to send to the Eurovision Committee.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organises Eurovision and has previously said it was in the process of scrutinising the lyrics, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Kan's decision.

The Israeli broadcaster said it agreed to make the changes following a request from the country's president, Isaac Herzog.

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"The president emphasised 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.

A number of musicians, politicians, and activists across Europe have made calls for Eurovision to ban Israel from competing in the contest, due to the brutality of its war in Gaza, though the EBU has given the green light for Tel Aviv to perform.