Zionist youth movement endorses Belgian member in Euro song contest


(JTA) — The Hashomer Hatzair Jewish youth movement called on its members in Israel to vote for a performer representing Belgium in the Eurovision song contest because she is a member of the organization’s Brussels branch.

Ellie Delvaux, 17, is one several dozen performers from 26 countries, including Israel, who are participating in the Grand Final of the Eurovision Saturday evening in Kiev.

In 2016, some 204 million people saw at least one of the three shows that make up the annual contest, according to the European Broacasting Union. This year, 42 countries participated in the semi-finals. Israel is represented in the Grand Final by 25-year-old Imri Ziv, who qualified in the semi-finals with his song “I Feel Alive.”

A panel of judges from each country participating in the final ranks performers from other countries, with the highest score being 12. Additionally, viewers at home can also rank the performers over the telephone. The panel and the viewers’ score are then combined in calculating the final score given by each country.  However, viewers are barred from ranking the performers from the country from which they are calling.

“Israel first. But in Israel we can’t vote for Imri so we’ll vote for the Shomtznikit from Belgium,” read a statement posted by the official Facebook profile of the Israeli branch of the Hashomer Hatzair Zionist movement. Shmotznik is an acronym describing a member or graduate of the movement.

Delvaux, who began her musical career last year on the Belgian edition of the “The Voice” talent television show, which she did not win, will perform Saturday the song “City Lights.”

“My family, my friends, everyone was very surprised and of course super happy,” Delvaux, who is a counselor, or madricha, of Hashomer Hatzair Brussels, told the Regards Jewish magazine last week about her selection in March to represent Belgium in Kiev. “At Hashomer, the younger kids as me questions all the time and the other madrichim tease me a little by all in all everyone is super excited about it.”

She said that her presence in Kiev is a family effort.

“My dad is my manager, my brother takes care of everything on social networks and my mother is there to give moral support, she’s kind of my personal coach,” Delvaux said.

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