Words: Alastair James; pictures: YouTube
Israel's 2022 Eurovision Song Contest act, Michael Ben David, has been forced to drop out of the competition due to "security concerns" as a result of an ongoing strike in Israel's Foreign Ministry.
The openly gay performer, 25, was due to perform his self-acceptance anthem, 'I.M' at the competition in Turin, Italy between 10 and 14 July.
A tweet by Israel's Eurovision account confirmed the news today (Tuesday 12 April) and it is not yet known if David will be able to perform remotely.
"The Israeli delegation will not attend the Eurovision in Turin"
In its tweet, KAN Eurovision Israel say: "As of now, due to the Ministry of Foreign affairs strike, that affects the security protocols, the Israeli delegation will not attend the Eurovision in Turin."
As of now, due to the Ministry of Foreign affairs strike, that affects the security protocols, the Israeli delegation will not attend the Eurovision in Turin.— KAN Eurovision Israel (@kaneurovision) April 12, 2022
Ben David was chosen to represent Israel at this year's competition after winning the finale of the X-Factor where he triumphed over three other performers.
According to the Times of Israel, he said at the time: "I’m a little shocked. People voted for me and that means they accept me for who I am. This isn’t only for me. This is for so many people who feel worthless and useless."
He is also said to have spoken openly on the show about being bullied as a child and coming out to his mother.
There were reports in February from ynet that Ben David was considering stepping back from Eurovision over his converse about professional conduct. One source told the site: "Michael comes wholeheartedly to the competition, but if he understands that there are policies that deprive him of the right to represent Israel with dignity, he will not go there to despise the flag."
But Michael was also said to be working hard to be ready for the competition.
Russia has been banned from the competition following its invasion of Ukraine.
Watch Michael Ben David's video for 'I.M' below:
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