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Eden Golan says back home with head held high

Eden Golan landed in Israel on Sunday after her challenging participation in the Eurovision Song Contest while anti-Israel protests spread inside the concert arena, among the judges in the participating countries and on the streets of Malmo.

Against all odds, during a heavily politicized war in Gaza when many allies have turned their backs on Israel, Golan won fifth place with the votes from viewers giving her an even higher score.

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Eden lands in Israel after Eurovision Song Contest

(Photo: Yoni Froim)

President Isaac Herzog called Golan when she was on her way home, to congratulate her for her fortitude during the challenging week and thanking her for representing her country the way she had.

“Dear Eden, You’ve brought us a lot of honor and courage as you proudly stood against the anti-Israel and antisemitic crowds present,” he said. “It was a complicated national mission and I offer you my congratulations and gratitude,” Herzog said.

“Thank you very much, thank you for the privilege to represent our country at such a crazy time. Thank you for all the work you did, and for all the help to make this happen, I really appreciate it and it’s not to be taken for granted. It’s something I never I will forget,” Eden replied.

“It was a huge privilege to represent our country, especially in times like this, and the entire country stood behind me. I felt your love and support,” Golan said upon landing at Ben-Gurion International Airport. “You don’t understand how much it helped me and how much strength it gave me.”

“Thank you to everyone who supported me, and of course, to the security personnel who guarded us and brought us home safely,” she said and called for the return of all hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.

While Golan dazzled on Saturday’s grand Eurovision final, the anti-Israeli protesters continued to demonstrate outside. They were pushed back by the local police, concerned that they would storm the arena.

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Greta being dragged by police

(Photo: Johan Nilsson/AFP)

Dozens were arrested or forcibly dragged away from the protest, including climate activist Greta Thunburg who had attended many of the protests after exhibiting her support for Hamas, early in the war.

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Police detain protesters in Malmo

(Photo: Gil Nechushtan)

During the rioting, protesters spit at the police, especially policewomen and shouted “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and “Palestine, don’t be afraid, Malmo supports you.” Around 5,000 protesters marched in Malmo waving flags and signs demonstrating against Israel’s participation in the contest.

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Anti-Israel protest outside of Eurovision venue

(Photo: Gil Nechushtan)

Despite many protests, the European Broadcasting Union rejected the demand to remove Israel from the competition, emphasizing that there was no violation of the rules. The protesters claim, that Russia, unlike Israel, was removed from the contest after it invaded Ukraine and Israel should be removed as well.

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