Eurovision 2019

This Eurovision Has Been a Nightmare

Here are some photos that show why hosting an international pop competition in a world-famous conflict zone can make things a little tricky.

by Chris Bethell
17 May 2019, 8:16am

Photos: Chris Bethell

The Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv is currently playing host to the Eurovision Song Contest – a hyper liberal, extremely camp singing competition. Add to the mix vocal anti-government and anti-occupation protesters, the country's large ultra-orthodox Jewish community, LGBTQ tourists, the backdrop of an international conflict and a load of soldiers carrying huge guns, and it makes for quite the complex spectacle.

At the best of times, Israel struggles to maintain this delicate balance of culture, politics and religion. But soon after the Israeli singer Netta won Eurovision 2018, setting her country up as the next hosts, Tel Aviv has been preparing for this exact challenge.

Photographer Chris Bethell has spent the week in Tel Aviv documenting the unique portrait of a city trying to accommodate a truly disparate set of voices and beliefs.

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VICE's reporting at Eurovision 2019 was facilitated by British Airways who fly direct to Israel, and Booking.com who put us up in one of their large selection of apartments.