ISRAEL – Dana International has confirmed that she will be performing during Eurovision next year, while dismissing the suggestion that the 2019 song contest should have taken place in Jerusalem.
Speaking to an audience at Limmud, the transsexual star pointed out that the competition had been held twice in Jerusalem during the 1970s and that when she won in 1998 it had been nearby, “in Birmingham, not London.
“There’s no law that it should be held in the capital city.”
The singer, famous for songs including “Diva” and “Saida Sultana”, described how in the wake of her victory “everybody wanted to talk to me – they couldn’t believe that a person like me exists in Israel.
“I was asked a lot about Israel, and I was thinking in my mind ‘no one really knows a lot about my country’, because they’re asking me about camels… and thought that Israel was made up of 100 per cent Orthodox people.”
In discussion with Israeli media personality Yigal Ravid, the singer described how she had taken an unpleasant situation with Israel’s Charedi community and turned it to her advantage.
“They [the Charedi politicians] were going to the media – they wanted so very badly to express themselves and talk about how it was so wrong to send me to represent Israel. So me and my manager said, ‘why not take this ugly lemon and make it into a nice lemonade?’ So we took these statements from the Orthodox and we spread them around the world. I can tell you that it helped me a lot.”
She said that although life was excellent for LGBT people in Israel, that the nature of Israel’s political system meant that “if you have two Orthodox parties in your coalition, you cannot do as much as you want for the gay community.”
In response to a question from Mr Ravid, the singer said that she had never considered running for political office – “most of them are liars”.
Discussing the announcement that an election is to take place in Israel this coming April, she said that in the country “people vote with their feelings, not their heads. Those who run on fear, security, who say ‘we will defeat them’ – that’s what wins elections in Israel. It’s easier than making peace.”
Mr Ravid quoted from a previous JC interview with the star, in which she discussed looking for a “nice Jewish boy”. Now, however, the singer said that she was “happy to be single and do whatever I want to do.”
Although she said she enjoyed “romance” and spoke about it being easy to find partners in Tel Aviv, one thing she recommended in a relationship was not to sleep in the same bed – “all the snoring!
“I have three dogs and a double bed, and I sleep with them. There is no room for a man.”