Photo Credit: Isaac Harari / Flash 90
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein lights a torch during the final rehearsal for the Israeli 67th Independence Day Ceremony at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem on April 20, 2015.

The Shalva Band gave up the dream of competing in Eurovision – but instead will perform at the Torchlighting Ceremony for Israel’s 71st celebration this May.

According to a report published by Yediot Ahronot, The Shalva Band has been invited to open this year’s Independence Day celebrations.

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The band will also appear in the second semi-finals of the Eurovision Song Contest – in the artistic part of the contest – broadcast live in Tel Aviv on May 16 via Israel’s Kan public broadcasting network.

Israeli Minister of Culture Miri Regev said in response to the news, “I am happy that the Shalva Band, which has captured the heart of the Israeli public, will appear at the Torch Lighting Ceremony marking the 71st anniversary of our independence.

“The members of the band represent in the best of all possible ways the victory of spirit over the body – the issue which we have chosen to highlight in this year’s independence day’s celebrations.

“The Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Information will continue to apply these principles so that all sectors of the country’s population can take part in cultural events, including those with disabilities.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.