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Israeli song ban?

by: Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2007-03-06



Israel's controversial Eurovision entry may be disqualified from the song contest due to the political nature of its lyrics.

Push The Button, by the offbeat rap band Teapacks, swept to victory in the country's national final last week. The song is said to be a response to Iran's nuclear ambitions and its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has previously called for Israel to be "wiped off the map".

However, the rules of the contest state that "no lyrics, speeches or gestures of a political nature shall be permitted," and that "a breach of this rule may result in disaqualification. A spokesperson for the European Broadcasting Union added, "It's absolutely clear that this kind of message is not appropriate for the competition."

The matter will be discussed at a meeting of EBU chiefs later this week.

Meanwhile, the band have been quick to defend their song. Lead singer Kobi Oz told "I know this song is not political. Some may think it refers to Israeli leaders, some may think it talks about other countries' leaders. We are not taking sides. The message we wish to convey is that we all want to live, smell the flowers bloom and have fun."

The band are due to take part in the contest semi-final in the Finnish capital Helsinki on May 10.