Israel’s Eden Golan performs at Eurovision semi-final amid Malmo protests

Israel singer Eden Golan has performed in the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest amid protests in Malmo, Sweden.

The 20-year-old singer took to the stage for the emotional Hurricane, which was reworked from a previous track called October Rain, believed to reference the Hamas attacks on Israel, on Thursday evening.

She opened with a back bend, before launching into her song and received claps and cheers from the audience while dressed in a flowing sand-coloured dress.

The event’s organisers have said they will not “censor” the audience after Golan was booed during rehearsals.

Earlier in the day, thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters walked across the streets of Malmo from Stortorget to Molleplatsen to show their support for Gaza and condemn Israel taking part in Eurovision amid the war in the Gaza Strip.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), whose members approved Israeli broadcaster Kan, has taken 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.

Golan was booed by some of the spectators watching rehearsals on Wednesday and there were reportedly shouts of “free Palestine”.

“Just like in all major TV productions with an audience, SVT work on the broadcast sound to even out the levels for TV viewers,” a statement from the Eurovision organisers, including Swedish host broadcaster SVT, said.

“This is solely to achieve as balanced a sound mix as possible for the audience; and SVT do not censor sound from the arena audience.

“The same principle applies to all competing performances and opening and interval acts.

“The EBU and SVT encourage all audiences to attend in the spirit of the contest, embracing its values of inclusivity, celebrating diversity and being United By Music.”