The Israeli angle to Ukraine’s Eurovision victory

The Israeli angle to Ukraine’s Eurovision victory

This year’s Eurovision Song Contest did not go Israel’s way — but even though for the first time in six years the country didn’t make it to the final, it did have some representation in Turin, Italy, last Saturday.

That’s because the Kalush Orchestra, the Ukrainian band that won the competition with “Stefania,” a rap number featuring traditional Ukrainian instruments and motifs, filmed its introductory video in Israel.

The intro, known in Eurovision jargon as the “postcard,” features contestants who typically are filmed in a place of their choosing in the country that is about to host that year’s contest. (Normally, that’s the country that won the previous year.)

But covid has complicated travel, so all the contestants filmed in front of green screens, with footage of Italy added later.

But given the war, filming in Ukraine became difficult and potentially dangerous.

The solution came from Israel and the Jewish Agency’s annual “Israel Calling” pre-Eurovision event. The band got permission to attend — along with contestants from 23 countries — and while they were in Israel, the Jewish Agency arranged for them to film in its offices.

In fact, the band recorded in front of a green screen in the very room where Chaim Weizmann was sworn in as Israel’s first president.

The final video does not feature Israel in any way. It shows the band members against drone footage of several monuments in Italy.

As part of their visit, the Ukrainian band also performed a live, unplugged rendition of “Stefania” for about 50 refugees from Ukraine.

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

read more: