On 18 June 2018, Prime Minister Netanyahu stated that Israel had committed to remaining in compliance with EBU rules regarding the constitution of member broadcasters, as to not affect its hosting of Eurovision. The IPBC's establishment included a condition that news programming would later be delegated to a second public broadcasting entity, which violates EBU rules requiring member broadcasters to have their own internal news departments.
On 19 June 2018, Israel was officially confirmed as the host country, and on 24 June 2018, KAN formally opened the bidding process for cities interested in hosting the 2019 contest.
On 28 July 2018, Israeli Minister Michael Oren, who is closely connected to Prime Minister Netanyahu, stated that Jerusalem did not have the resources to host the contest, restating the common talking point that Tel Aviv was the more likely host. Soon after, reports of the government not providing the €12 million downpayment, KAN requested to cover hosting expenses and security surfaced, with a compromise reached on 29 July 2018.
Following a tense back-and-forth between KAN and the government, a compromise between the two parties was reached that would see KAN paying the €12 million to the EBU and the Finance Ministry covering expenses should complications arise. The Mayor of Tel Aviv announced that the city would be willing to pay for the Convention Center itself, should it be chosen as the host city.
The week of 27 August 2018, executive supervisor/scrutineer Jon Ola Sand led a handful of EBU delegates around Israel to scope out the potential venues in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and to hear the bid from Eilat. On 30 August 2018, Sand stated in an interview with KAN that Eilat was no longer in the running to host, leaving it between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. He also stated that there was no serious discussion among members of the EBU for boycotting the event.
On 13 September 2018, the EBU announced Tel Aviv as the host city, with Expo Tel Aviv as the selected venue for the 2019 contest.
Location of host venue (red) and other contest-related sites and events (blue)
The Eurovision Village will be the official Eurovision Song Contest fan and sponsors area during the events week, where it will be possible to watch performances by local artists, as well as the live shows broadcast from the main venue. It will be located at the Charles Clore Park in Tel Aviv.
The slogan for the contest, Dare to Dream, was unveiled on 28 October 2018. Its visual design was revealed on 8 January 2019 which features logo consisting of triangles forming a golden star. Along with the main version, there are two more alternative versions of the logo. The logo, brand and theme was created by Studio Adam Feinberg.
Semi-final allocation draw
The draw to determine the allocation of the participating countries into their respective semi-finals will take place on 28 January 2019, at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
The EBU announced on 7 November 2018 that forty-two countries will participate in the contest, with Bulgaria absent due to financial reasons.
Eligibility for potential participation in the Eurovision Song Contest requires a national broadcaster with active EBU membership that will be able to broadcast the contest via the Eurovision network. The EBU issued an invitation of participation in the contest to all fifty-six active members. The Israeli Minister of Communications Ayoob Kara has also invited countries from the Middle Eastern and North African region, with which Israel largely has tense relationships or no diplomatic relations. Kara pointed out Tunisia and the Gulf statesSaudi Arabia as well as Dubai and Abu Dhabi as part of the United Arab Emirates. Tunisia is eligible to participate but has not due to rules banning the promotion of Israeli content, while the Gulf states do not have a national broadcaster with EBU membership.
Active EBU members
Andorra – Despite being absent for 10 years, local media reported that Ràdio i Televisió d'Andorra (RTVA) was still interested in returning to the contest, but the principality's failure to make the final along with the cost was discouraging the broadcaster from participating. In order for a return to take place, RTVA would need funding from the Andorran Government. On 19 May 2018, Andorra confirmed that they would not return in 2019.
Bulgaria – Despite confirming their preliminary participation in the 2019 contest, Bulgarian National Television (BNT) announced on 13 October 2018 that many members of the delegations were moving onto other projects, and on 15 October 2018, BNT announced that they will withdraw from the contest in 2019 due to financial difficulties.
Kazakhstan – On 22 December 2017, it was claimed that Channel 31 had finalised negotiations with the EBU, allowing Kazakhstan to debut in 2019; however, on 23 December 2017, the EBU told Esctoday that "Channel 31 Kazakhstan has indeed expressed interest in becoming a member of the EBU and hence participate in the Eurovision Song Contest. However, since Channel 31 is outside the European Broadcasting Area and is also not a member of the Council of Europe, it is not eligible to become an active member of the EBU". On 25 July 2018, it was announced that Kazakhstan will participate in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2018, thus making a debut in 2019 possible. On 30 July 2018, the EBU stated that the decision to invite Kazakhstan was made solely by the Junior Eurovision reference group, and there were no current plans to invite associate members other than Australia. On 22 November 2018, Jon Ola Sand said in a press conference that "we need to discuss if we can invite our associate member Kazakhstan to take part in adult ESC in the future, but this is part of a broader discussion in the EBU and I hope we can get back to you on this issue later." However, shortly after he clarified that they're not going to have an entry in the 2019 edition.
Kosovo – According to EBU guidelines, Kosovo's participation in 2018 would have been possible due to Portugal recognising Kosovo as a state.Radio Television of Kosovo (RTK) decided not to participate, however still broadcast the contest in 2018. Israel does not recognise Kosovo, but both states foster good relations.[unreliable source?] RTK general director Mentor Shala said that they are still pushing for full membership, and still hope to debut at the 2019 contest. They are currently still in talks with the EBU. The EBU will vote on full membership of the Kosovar broadcaster in June 2019, possibly allowing the country to debut in 2020, or in the near future after that.
Liechtenstein – On 4 November 2017, 1 Fürstentum Liechtenstein Television (1 FL TV), the national broadcaster of the Principality of Liechtenstein, confirmed that the country were planning a debut in the 2019 contest, and that they were currently in the process of applying for EBU membership and are "in [the] process of complying all requirements". They also reiterated their intention to select the participant through a national selection process in the form of Liechtenstein Music Contest "open to any form of music". However, on 20 July 2018, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) stated that 1 FL TV have not applied for EBU membership. On 26 July 2018, 1 FL TV confirmed that Liechtenstein will not debut at the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 due to the sudden death of the broadcaster's director, Peter Kölbel.
On 14 May 2018, Yaakov Litzman, leader of the ultra-Orthodox party United Torah Judaism and Israel's former Minister of Health, drafted a letter to the Ministers of Tourism, Communications, and Culture and Sports, in which he requested that the event not violate religious laws: “In the name of hundreds of thousands of Jewish citizens from all the populations and communities for whom Shabbat observance is close to their hearts, I appeal to you, already at this early stage, before production and all the other details of the event has begun, to be strict [in ensuring] that this matter does not harm the holiness of Shabbat and to work in every way to prevent the desecration of Shabbat, God forbid, as the law and the status quo requires”. According to Jewish religious law, Shabbat—the holy sabbath—is observed from just before sunset on Friday evening until Saturday night. The Saturday evening broadcast of the show, which will start at 22:00 local time, will not conflict with this. However, the Friday evening jury show and Saturday afternoon rehearsals would. Similar protests arose in the lead-up to the 1999 Israeli-held competition, but then there were fewer competing teams allowing for certain adjustments to be made to accommodate the issue. The Chairman of the EBU's Eurovision committee, Dr. Frank-Dieter Freiling, noted that he was well aware of the tension, and has plans to address it in his communications with the Israeli broadcaster.
Calls for boycott
Due to the contest being held in Israel, and initially there being a potential for Jerusalem to host for a third time, some have expressed their discontent and called for a boycott, as part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Despite this, no country withdrew as a result of such calls.
Australia – The Australian Greens party raised questions about a potential boycott of the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel with Senator Lee Rhiannon stating: “Recent events along the Gaza border have shown that the Israeli army engage in lethal military actions, on days that are seen as ‘significant’ or when Palestinian-protests are planned,” she said. "This means Eurovision's activities could impact on who lives and who dies. Will SBS consider these factors when it considers whether to participate in next year's contest or if it's held in 2020?" Michael Ebeid, the CEO of Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) stated "Israel has won before, Israel has hosted before and it in the spirit of unity and bringing people together and cultures together I can't imagine that we would not televise Eurovision next year." Australia later confirmed their participation on 1 October 2018.
Iceland – Although Iceland confirmed provisional participation in the 2019 contest, 23,000 Icelanders signed a petition calling on the Icelandic national broadcaster Ríkisútvarpið (RÚV) to boycott the event. Icelandic musician Daði Freyr stated that he would no longer participate in the Icelandic national selection Söngvakeppnin and called upon RÚV to boycott the event, tweeting "We can't imagine taking part in the fun that is Eurovision with a clear conscience while the Israeli state and their army use such terrible violence against the Palestinian people." It was then announced that RÚV would stage a meeting deciding if they would boycott the event, following calls from Icelandic fans. On 13 September 2018, Iceland confirmed participation in Eurovision 2019.
Ireland – Former Lord Mayor of Dublin Mícheál Mac Donncha, who is banned from entering Israel due to his support for the BDS movement, stated that Ireland should withdraw from the 2019 contest due to it taking place in Israel.Sinn Féin MEP, Lynn Boylan called for a boycott via Twitter; "Israel wins Eurovision so let's make BDS more successful than ever in 2019". MEP Nessa Childers stated "Jerusalem? The mind boggles. I thought Tel Aviv". Fellow Sinn Féin member Órla Nic Biorna also expressed her discontent. The Irish Alternative called for a boycott. Irish Eurovision winner Charlie McGettigan has also called for RTÉ to boycott the event, stating "Look, we don't agree with this, to celebrate while other people are dying." Former Irish TV host Mike Murphy has also called for a boycott of the event. Irish television show The Tonight Show aired a segment in regards to Israel's right to host the contest. On the panel was a range of Irish celebrities all of whom spoke in favour of a boycott. This included members of the public. On 21 June 2018, sitting TánaisteSimon Coveney stated that he did not believe a boycott would advance the Palestinian cause, and rejected the idea of Ireland boycotting the 2019 contest on those grounds. Sinn Féin called on RTÉ to boycott the event. On 16 August 2018 Ireland confirmed their participation in the 2019 edition.
Portugal – Several Portuguese artists have appealed in an open letter addressed to RTP, responsible for choosing the national representative, to boycott Portugal participation at the Eurovision Song Contest, which will take place in Tel Aviv, Israel in 2019. "We urge RTP to act within the EBU-European Broadcasting Union so that the festival is transferred to a country where war crimes - including murders of journalists - are not committed and otherwise withdraw completely from the 2019 Festival," reads the letter. It also states that "Eurovision does not combine with Apartheid," alleging that the public station, announcing Portugal's participation in the Israeli contest in May, "confirms its willingness, in the name of entertainment, to cover up the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory and the continued denial of the human rights of the Palestinian people." It concludes: "We do not want to become complicit in the human rights violations of the Palestinian people. We want to call the world's attention to colonization, which is becoming more violent every year." The list of signatories includes, among others, writer Alexandra Lucas Coelho, artist Joana Villaverde, singer Francisca Cortesão, actors João Grosso, Maria do Céu Guerra and Manuela de Freitas, painter Teresa Dias Coelho, filmmaker Susana Sousa Dias and the photographer Nuno Lobito.
Sweden – The Left Party of Malmö suggested that Eurovision Song Contest should not take place in Israel, stating: "It's absolutely unreasonable for Israel to host this gigantic music contest while the occupation is in progress. We want Israel to be excluded from Eurovision on humanitarian grounds. We can not continue dancing while the persecution of the Palestinian people continues. Boycott Israel now!" Sweden confirmed provisional participation in the 2019 contest, and competed in both the 1979 and 1999 contests held in Israel.