Israel has announced they’re quitting the Eurovision Song Contest after 44 years.
A representative for the nation made the shock announcement live on air as he handed out their scores on Saturday night.
He said it was because the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) is shutting down.
As the hosts in Kiev, Ukraine went live to Israel to find out how the jury had scored, the man, called Arthur, said:
This is IBA, Channel 1 calling from Jerusalem. For the past 44 years, Israel has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest, winning three times.
But tonight, is our final night, shortly IBA will shut down its broadcasting forever, so on behalf of all of us here in IBA, let me say thank you Europe for all the magical moments and the beautiful years.
And hopefully we shall meet again in the future.
Israel has been competing regularly in the competition since 1973. This was allowed because the IBA was a member of the Eurovision governing body.
The state-run Israel Broadcasting Authority was notified hours before Tuesday’s broadcast that “Mabat LaHadashot” (A glance at the news), which has been on air for 49 years, was to be shut down.
Channel 1 chief Eli Baba said that “we were planning on doing a farewell broadcast, to carry out an orderly transfer to the corporation – maybe even a joint broadcast that would pass along the broadcasts to the corporation,” referring to the replacement organization. “Now everything has been cut off. The heart breaks over workers who couldn’t even be notified.”
The new broadcasting corporation, Kan, is tentatively set to go on the air next Monday, at the same moment the Israel Broadcasting Authority shuts down, following an agreement reached by coalition representatives at a marathon Knesset meeting on Tuesday.