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Eden Golan, a 20-year-old Israeli singer, is currently in Sweden to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest. Due to security concerns, she has been primarily confined to her hotel and the contest venue in Malmö. Golan has been practicing singing while being booed in preparation for her performance, as she has become the focus of protests by anti-Israel demonstrators who want Israel expelled from Eurovision due to its conflict with Hamas. The singer faced a crowd of over 10,000 protesters in Malmö, shouting “Free Palestine” and accusing Israel of being a “terror state.” Despite the controversy, Golan qualified for the Eurovision final and has been met with a mix of boos and applause from the audience.

The protests in Malmö have focused on accusations against Eurovision for being complicit in genocide and calls for a boycott of the contest. Despite the tensions surrounding her participation, Golan has kept a low profile and refrained from engaging with the public in Malmö. Other performers in the competition have taken the stage for fans, but Golan has stayed out of sight except during rehearsals and performances. Despite the challenges, bookmakers predict she will likely finish in the top half of the final competition, which is decided by a combination of public votes and national music-industry juries.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly supported Golan, praising her for performing in the face of what he called an “ugly wave of antisemitism.” Golan’s song, titled “Hurricane,” was originally named “October Rain,” which referenced a Hamas attack that sparked the Gaza war. The original name was deemed too political for the contest, and the lyrics were changed to focus more on themes of enduring love. Golan’s background includes time spent in Russia, where she appeared on television talent shows before returning to Israel. She counts Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Whitney Houston, and Justin Timberlake among her inspirations and has expressed the honor of representing her country.

Despite the political tensions and protests surrounding her participation in Eurovision, Golan remains focused on her performance and the opportunity to share her music with a global audience. Following her qualification for the final, she expressed feeling overwhelmed with emotions but excited to go on stage once more. Golan’s song, a powerful ballad, has resonated with some viewers despite the controversy surrounding her appearance. While she has refrained from making direct political statements, she has acknowledged the significance of representing Israel on the Eurovision stage, especially given the current political climate. As she prepares for the final competition against acts from 25 other countries, Golan remains determined to deliver a memorable performance and share her love of music with viewers worldwide.

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