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‘Next Year in Jerusalem!’ In Israel, Eurovision Win Is Seen as a Diplomatic Victory, Too

The Eurovision win may also have even helped soothe bruised feelings after the Israeli-born, Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman backed out of a major award ceremony in Jerusalem, saying she did not want to endorse Mr. Netanyahu and was taking a stand against “violence, corruption, inequality and abuse of power.”

Some high-profile artists protesting the country’s policies toward the Palestinians have canceled appearances related to Israel. And hundreds of actors, musicians and artists critical of Israeli’s actions against Palestinians have endorsed the so-called B.D.S. movement, a pro-Palestinian campaign that calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

But Ms. Barzilai’s victory comes as an additional lift to a country already riding high on diplomatic achievements. On Sunday, in remarks at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, Mr. Netanyahu said: “These days, Jerusalem is being blessed with many gifts. We received another one last night with Netta’s thrilling and suspenseful victory. The gift is that Eurovision will come to Jerusalem next year; we will be very proud to host it.”

If next year’s Eurovision is held, as planned, in Jerusalem, it will further burnish Israeli ambitions at a time when many of the 28 member states of the European Union have been pushing back against the United States’ decision on Jerusalem.

By midday Sunday, fewer than half the 86 foreign ambassadors and chargés d’affaires invited to a celebratory reception at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the eve of the embassy opening had confirmed their attendance. The only European Union members among them were Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania.

The Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the opening of the embassy on Monday have upended decades of American policy and bucked the international consensus that it prejudged the outcome of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations about the future status of the contested city.

Nevertheless, Mr. Netanyahu and his conservative Likud party are soaring in the polls after reaping credit at home for Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from the international deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program, which the hawkish Israeli government vehemently opposed.

And last week, shortly before Israel’s overnight raid against Iranian targets in Syria, Mr. Netanyahu spent nearly 10 hours in Moscow in the company of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and was filmed by his side as a guest of honor at the annual parade marking the World War II victory over the Nazis.

Source: NYT > World

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