Eurovision: Israel's act met with boos at rehearsals ahead of semi-final

Israel's Eurovision contestant Eden Golan will perform at the second-semi final on Thursday evening, despite being booed by crowds during Wednesday's rehearsal.

Videos of the rehearsal on social media depicted loud boos from the live studio audience, alongside cries of "free Palestine."

The 20-year-old singer will perform her emotional track, Hurricane, at the contest in Malmo, Sweden, against a backdrop of protests in the city.

Israel's involvement in this year's competition has been the subject of debate, with fans calling for the country to be excluded amid its conflict with Gaza.

The Swedish Police Authority warned of potential disturbances in on Thursday, as thousands of people are expected to attend a pro-Palestinian march in Malmo.

Golan faced controversy early in the contest, when organisers apparently asked her to change the lyrics to her original song, October Rain, which was thought to be a reference to the Hamas attacks on Israel.

But the singer told ITV News that she could not have asked "for a better year to represent [her] country", saying that she hoped "music will win out" against the protests.

Israel's Eden Golan tells ITV News' Entertainment Editor Nina Nannar she hopes music will "win out" amid protests

In Thursday's semi final, she will compete against acts from Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and Denmark, who called for a ceasefire in Gaza and the "safe return" of Israeli hostages in a joint statement in March.

Eurovision's organisers hit out in April against the "unacceptable and totally unfair" abuse of competitors. The competition takes a strong stance against political messages, including flags and symbols from non-competing countries.

Despite this position, Tuesday's first semi final saw opening act Eric Saade wear a traditional keffiyeh around his wrist, commonly used by people who want to show they are pro-Palestinian.

Irish finalist Bambie Thug was also told by organisers to change their body paint, which referenced calls for a ceasefire.

Results of the semi final are due late Thursday, ahead of the grand final on Saturday, May 11.

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