Israel changes lyrics of controversial Eurovision song to avoid being disqualified

Eden Golan  (REUTERS)
Eden Golan (REUTERS)

Israel has agreed to change the lyrics to a song submitted for the Eurovision Song Contest to avoid being disqualified.

The country’s public broadcaster Kan said the singer Eden Golan will change the lyrics to the song October Rain which included lyrics related to the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October which left 1,200 dead.

Kan said on Sunday it had asked the songwriters to “readjust the texts, with full artistic freedom” before being sent to the Eurovision Broadcasting Union.

The rules of Eurovision ban content that could be considered political.

The changes to October Rain were made after a request from the country’s president, Isaac Herzog.

Kan told Reuters: “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.”

Israel had faced claims that they were “spreading propaganda” and that they include a political message on the Hamas attacks.

Golan, 20, had dedicated the song to the Israeli hostages still held in Gaza, saying: “We won’t truly be OK until everyone returns home.”

Lyrics in the controversial song included: “There’s no air left to breathe / No place, no me from day to day.”

The song, which is mostly sung in English and but ends with the words: “They were all good children each one of them”, apparently referring to the victims of the Hamas attack.

Israel has won the Eurovision Song Contest four times before. This year's event will be held in Sweden - who won last year's content - in May.

Kan is in the process of choosing its entry, with October Rain the leading submission and Dance Forever in second place.

Israel's entry is due be confirmed next Sunday.