Israel’s Eurovision Song Contest competitor faces strict security, mixed reactions of disapproval and approval

Eden Golan, a 20-year-old Israeli singer, is currently in Sweden for the Eurovision Song Contest, but her experience has been overshadowed by security concerns and protests from pro-Palestinian demonstrators. Golan has been practicing singing while being booed to prepare for her performance in the competition, where she has become a symbol of controversy due to Israel’s conflict with Hamas.

Despite the challenges she faces, Golan has made it through to the final round of the Eurovision competition, where she will compete against acts from 25 other countries. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has praised her for persevering in the face of adversity, saying, “When they boo you, we are cheering you on.”

Golan’s song, “Hurricane,” originally titled “October Rain,” has faced criticism for its political undertones, leading to a rebranding to comply with contest rules. The powerful ballad emphasizes themes of resilience and love amidst difficult times, reflecting Golan’s personal journey as an artist.

Born in Israel to parents from the former Soviet Union, Golan draws inspiration from iconic musicians such as Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Whitney Houston, and Justin Timberlake. She has refrained from making direct political statements but has expressed gratitude for the opportunity to represent her country on a global stage.

As Golan prepares for the final competition, she remains focused on sharing her love and emotions through her music. Despite the challenges and controversies surrounding her participation in Eurovision, Golan’s resilience and talent continue to shine through, solidifying her place as a rising star in the music industry.

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Associated Press writer Yesica Fisch in Jerusalem contributed to this story.

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