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Israel’s Eden Golan tops UK public vote and finishes fifth at Eurovision

Israel’s Eden Golan tops UK’s public vote, finishes in fifth at Eurovision (Martin Meissner/AP)
Israel’s Eden Golan tops UK’s public vote, finishes in fifth at Eurovision (Martin Meissner/AP)

Israel’s Eden Golan has finished in fifth place after receiving an audience score of 323 points, including 12 points from the United Kingdom’s public vote.

The 20-year-old singer celebrated with her team while jeers sounded throughout Malmo Arena in Sweden as the vote was announced, which put the country briefly in first place with a total of 375 points.

Despite only scoring 52 points from the other country’s jury votes, Golan topped the UK’s public vote with 12, while 10 votes went to Ireland’s Bambie Thug, who finished in sixth place.

Switzerland’s Nemo was the winner with 591 points, while Croatia’s Baby Lasagna was given 547 points and Ukraine’s Alyona Alyona & Jerry Heil with the emotional and religious song Teresa & Maria landed on 453 points.

Sweden Eurovision Israel Palestinians
Police tackle a man during a protest against the participation of Israeli contestant Eden Golan ahead of the final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmo, Sweden (Johan Nilsson/TT News Agency via AP)

Golan had performed her emotional song Hurricane in the final, which was reworked from a previous track called October Rain, which was thought to reference the Hamas attacks on Israel that sparked the current conflict.

She faced loud jeers and boos from the audience, and people also shouting. There was also strong support for her, as claps and cheers were also heard.

BBC One commentator Graham Norton described the crowd as giving a “mixed reaction”.

He added: “In some of the open rehearsals we heard more booing, but there was quite a lot of cheering tonight as well and I should tell you that that song is tipped to do very well tonight.”

Sweden Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final
Eden Golan reacts as the judges votes start to be announced during the Grand Final of the Eurovision (Martin Meissner/AP)

Pro-Palestinian protesters walked across the streets of Malmo from Stortorget to Molleplatsen on Thursday, when Golan was in the semi-final, and on Saturday to show their support for Gaza and condemn Israel taking part in Eurovision.

Golan has been surrounded by a convoy of security as she travelled from the hotel to the contest venue, according to the Associated Press news agency.

During the semi-final, Golan, dressed in a flowing sand-coloured dress, was applauded and cheered by the audience.

That marked a change from her being booed during rehearsals on Wednesday, and reportedly facing shouts of “free Palestine” in the arena.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organises the competition, had encouraged the crowd to “attend in the spirit of the contest, embracing its values of inclusivity, celebrating diversity and being united by music” and said it will not “censor” the audience.

The organisers, whose members approved Israeli broadcaster Kan, took a strong stance, as in previous years, against political messages at Eurovision and flags and symbols from non-competing countries.

Despite the position, Tuesday’s first semi-final saw former Swedish contestant and opening act Eric Saade wear a keffiyeh pattern material, commonly used by people who want to show they are pro-Palestinian, on his arm.

There have also been several incidents of fans waving Palestinian flags during rehearsals.