Israel’s Eden Golan performs to protests inside and outside the Eurovision arena

Israel’s Eurovision entry Eden Golan has taken to the stage at the grand final amid uproar from protesters who denounce Israel’s involvement over its war in Gaza.

There was a mixed reaction from the 9,000 people at the arena in Malmö, Sweden, as both boos and cheers were heard in the crowd.

Earlier this week, the 20-year-old singer was met with boos and shouts of “free Palestine” during the dress rehearsal for the second semi-final on Thursday 9 May.

Follow The Independent’s live coverage of the competition here.

Protests were also underway outside the Malmö Arena, where the event is being held, as pro-Palestine activists waved Palestinian flags and banners with Eurovision-style branding and the word “genocide” written across them.

Accusations that a genocide is being carried out in Gaza have been vehemently denied by Israel, amid its ongoing war with Hamas sparked by the 7 October attacks. More than 34,000 Palestinians, including more than 14,000 children, have been killed by Israeli strikes since 7 October.

Eden Golan of Israel performs the song ‘Hurricane’ during the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest (AP)
Eden Golan of Israel performs the song ‘Hurricane’ during the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest (AP)

Golan’s song “Hurricane” was reworked from a previous track called “October Rain”, which was thought to be a reference to the Hamas attacks on Israel. Golan is taking part in the final after being successful at the semi-finals.

Along with the title’s reference to “October”, this included the lines, “There’s no air left to breathe” and, “They were all good children, each one of them.”

After the EBU said it was scrutinising the lyrics, Israeli president Isaac Herzog called for “necessary adjustments” in order to ensure his country could take part.

The song was updated and Golan was permitted to proceed in the contest with “Hurricane”, with the EBU approving the new lyrics.

Golan’s performance comes as Swedish activist Greta Thunberg was pictured early on Saturday wearing a Keffiyeh scarf at Stop Israel protest, and was later seen being escorted away by Swedish police.

Meanwhile, some protesters were reported to be chanting “Shame on you” at attendees arriving at the arena, as they continue to boycott this year’s competition for its inclusion of Israel.

Last December, organisers of the event rejected calls for a boycott as they said it remains a “non-political event”. competition would have been a “political decision”.