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It's time to say goodbye....

They say old soldiers never die, they just fade away...

It's been a blast from the very start, at times the stress was huge, the days were horrendous and the nights sleepless, but in the end Eurovision in Tel Aviv gets a 10/10 from me...

Thanks for everything, thanks to the readers, the viewers and most of all thanks to Andy for the opportunity all those years ago.

Much Love and peace out :-)

Australian Ambassador House hosting

Eran on Tue, 05/14/2019 - 19:42

Yesterday, the Australian ambassador to Israel, Chris Cannan, hosted an event at his residency.

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In the event, the historian Dean Vuletic gave a lecture about the history, the political roots and the political influence of the Eurovision Song Contest, as described in his book "Postwar Europe and the Eurovision Song Contest". The title of the lecture was "Why Are Australia and Israel in The Eurovision Song Contest". Obviously it did not evolve around the technicalities (Israel is part of the EBU and therefore allowed to take part), but rather around the cultural connections that lead to both countries to not just participated, but also be heavily invested in.

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We were also informed at the event, Vuletic is currently working on a new book, that will evolve around the "Intervision", the soviet bloc song contest. We'll be waiting on that one.

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Ambassador Chris Cannan,

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Dean Vuletic

Finally got around to doing the My Heritage thing

I'm super curious to know what they find out, but suspect that in the end it will probably be a mix of Celtic and Anglo-Saxon - but you never know

"Dear Michael,‎
Thank you for activating your MyHeritage DNA
If you haven't collected and mailed us your DNA sample yet, please follow the instructions (which are also included in your DNA kit).
You can track the status of your DNA kit. We’ll notify you by email when your DNA results are available. You can expect them in about 4 weeks from the moment our lab receives your DNA sample. Your results will include your Ethnicity Estimate, revealing your ethnic origins. We’ll also search for people whose DNA matches yours — your relatives — so you can connect with them and learn more about your family history together.
MyHeritage offers much more than DNA kits! We invite you to discover your family’s history by building your family tree and exploring our collection of 9.7 billion historical records. To help you get started with your family history journey, we’ve created a private family site for you on MyHeritage, in which you can build your own family tree.
Visit your family site and create your family tree. We highly recommend that you do this, while you wait for our lab to process your DNA results. Your DNA Matches will be easier to understand once you have a family tree.
Best regards,
The MyHeritage team"

Yom HaZikaron and Independence day in Israel

Eran on Wed, 05/08/2019 - 07:08

Yom HaZikaron is the Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism. It's an official memorial day that was enacted into law in 1963. It's the day when Israelis stops and honor the fallen soldiers of the country. Since Jewish tradition sees the day starting from sunset to sunset, the events of this day will started on Tuesday evening.
A few things that you should know (and probably already noticed) as tourists:
* There are two sirens heard; the first at the preceding evening at 20:00, that will last for 1 minute. The 2nd on Yom HaZikaron day at 11:00, and this one is 2 minutes long.
* In the preceding evening all stores and restaurant are closed. Grocery stores and supermarkets will be open on Yom HaZikaron itself. Restaurants will still be closed.
* There will be no rehearsals for Eurovision on Yom HaZikaron. That is why rehearsals started a day earlier this year.
* In addition, radio will play only sad songs from Tuesday evening to Wednesday evening. TV will air special programming at the same time.

And then things take a drastic turn. On Wednesday evening Yom HaZikaron ends and the Independence Day begins. It "is the national day of Israel, commemorating the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948" (from Wikipedia). It's a day of ceremonies, celebrations and parties, and you'll notice Israelis tend to party hard. This will take place from Wednesday evening to Thursday evening.
A few things that you should know as tourists:
* Grocery stores and supermarkets will be closed early on Wednesday. Restaurants are supposed to remain open and will probably be packed.
* There will be road blocks on Wednesday evening. It's not only for security reasons; Throughout the evening and the night there will be shows going on, known in Israel as "Bamot Bidur" (Entertainment stages). There will probably hundreds of them throughout the country. These shows are free and open to all. If you'll go to one of them you'll see insane amount of people attending, including families. The performers are usually Israeli biggest music stars. Check out who's performing in your area.
* Rehearsals for Eurovision will go on regularly on Thursday.
* most grocery stores and supermarkets will be closed on Thursday, but you might find a handful of AMPM stores open.

Have a safe day
Israeli flag

Picture by Ishai Parasol

My Heritage DNA test

Andy on Sun, 05/05/2019 - 22:17

Today our colleagues from Latvia and Russia - Maksims Toločins and Andrey Kozhin have passed DNA test on the My Heritage desk in the press-center. Their samples will be now sent to the laboratory in Texas, US and in around 1.5 months of time they will be able to find out if they have distant relatives among 2019 acts (Andrey hopes it's Kate Miller-Heidke).

If you're interested to find out what is your heritage - welcome to the desk in the press-center and check https://www.myheritage.com/eurovision/ - alternatively one can buy the testing package on the website for €69. By the way, Eurovision package plays EBU anthem Te Deum when you open it.

At this moment, My Heritage has revealed results of testing of 3 acts: Michael Rice, Ester Peony and Tamara Todevska and we will keep you updated on the new exciting revelations. Read more at:

https://www.myheritage.com/eurovision/blog/michael-rice-learns-an-aston…
https://www.myheritage.com/eurovision/blog/macedonas-tamara-todevska-th…

My Heritage DNA test

Welcome to Tel Aviv, Welcome to The Manor

Andy on Fri, 05/03/2019 - 16:40

We have safe and well and experienced no issues so far. On my way through Kyiv I met lovely ZENA and her team, and we told her that the one whom we meet first or last usually wins. Now let's see who is the last.

Accreditation center is pretty conveniently located and easy to find, but they give nothing but accreditation badges. There is a mobile app with schedules and shuttle bus etc info, but for now, nobody knows how one can get passwords for it. We have not seen any Rav-Kav distribution points for press and other guests as announced earlier. Delegations in the airport are invited to use new VIP lounge, but for press it is much quicker to use the usual way.

And welcome to The Manor - which will be our home for the next days. It is a lovely restaurant/loft which we will be staying in. Apparently, it's quite fashionable and looks exotic. Feel free to visit it on non-Eurovision days.

Check it's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/The-Manor-%D7%94%D7%9E%D7%A0%D7%95%D7%A8-88603…
And the Time Out article at https://timeout.co.il/החיים-היפים/עיצוב-אדריכלות/תבלין-הבית-אופיר