Superstar Madonna will perform two songs at the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 in Tel Aviv, Israel this year.
The Vogue singer will sing one song from her back catalogue and one from her upcoming album during the song contest’s grand finale on 18 May.
Israeli-Canadian billionaire Sylvan Adams will cover the cost of bringing Madonna, as well as her 60-person team, to Israel.
The superstar reportedly asked for $1 million to perform, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Adams said: ‘[I] saw the importance of bringing the iconic singer to Tel Aviv and creating a memorable historic performance.’
He then continued at the INTV press conference in Jerusalem: ‘It’s a tremendous way to boost tourism. I think the more people we bring here, the more people see our true nature, and the true beauty of our country and our people, and the freedom and openness and tolerance and safety of our country.’
The European Broadcasting Union is expected to make a special announcement tonight (8 April).
Eurovision Song Contest 2019: Controversy
The Eurovision Song Contest 2019 is already one of the most controversial yet.
Israel’s longstanding tumultuous relationship with Palestine automatically makes the song contest political.
In fact, more than 60 queer and trans liberation organizations are calling for a boycott of Eurovision.
The majority of signatories are Palestinian queer groups. Others include the National LGBT Committee for UNISON, ACT UP groups in France and the UK, and the Gay Liberation Network.
Some activists are concerned Israel is co-opting LGBTI rights as a ‘public relations tool to hide its crimes against Palestinians’.
However, Assi Azar, a gay Israeli man who is one of the four presenters this year, believes boycotting sends a ‘message of hate’.
Israel will also go to the polls tomorrow (9 April) to vote in a national election. This election could see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his fifth term of office as leader.
In a desperate plea for votes from the LGBTI community, he met with activists and leaders from the community yesterday (7 April) for the first time in 10 years.
On the results of the meeting, the Association for the LGBT Community in Israel posted on its Facebook page.
They wrote: ‘Unfortunately, with the exception of hugs and warm words, we have not received any commitment to prevent LGBT-phobia incitement or any commitment to ending discrimination.’