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February 6, 2019 11:53 am

Israeli Band Shalva Pulls Out of Eurovision Running Due to Shabbat Observance

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The Shalva Band following their final performance on “Rising Star.” Photo: Screenshot.

The Shalva Band has removed itself from the race to represent Israel in this year’s Eurovision competition because some of its members observed Shabbat and would not be able to partake in mandatory rehearsals, The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday.

The group, made up of eight musicians who have special needs, was one of four finalists in the “Rising Star” singing contest — the winner of which will represent Israel in Eurovision, set to be held in Tel Aviv in May.

The band informed Keshet, the Israeli television network that airs “Rising Star,” of its decision to withdraw and the group was set to record a farewell clip for the show that will air on “Rising Star” on Thursday, Keshet said.

A spokesperson for Keshet declined to comment on the possibility of the band being replaced by another act in the “Rising Star” finale, which will air on Feb. 12.

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The final round of Eurovision is broadcast live on a Saturday night, but participants must take part in rehearsals ahead of time. The grand finale rehearsal, held on Friday evening, is filmed and sent to international judges to vote on and also kept in case of technical difficulties that may prevent Saturday night’s live broadcast from airing, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The band, which has three members who observe Shabbat, requested to pre-record its rehearsal but the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), producers of Eurovision, would not commit to changing its schedule to accommodate the group.

Ahead of its decision to quit the competition, Shalva had the backing of Israeli Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev, who wrote a letter to the EBU asking it to bend its rules about rehearsals so that the band could participate.

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