Beach Sun and music as the ESC as it's known to its legions of followers hits Tel Aviv on the beach a mix of tourists and fans await Saturday's grand finale with anticipation Tel Aviv is the city when it's it's always fun and when people from the whole Europe coming here to see something I think it will become more fun than it's always go in the big stage Here I am happy to represent my country Albania and Ready Steady Go Israel is hosting this year's Eurovision Song Contest because of this singer Netta bacilli who won in Lisbon last year she will perform her new single Nana banana at the final on Saturday making people come here and see how amazing Israel is giving us a chance to show how how how big of a party we can make and how amazing and genuine it can be energy wise Wow 41 nations are competing to win Europe's oldest Song Contest it's the third time as well as hosted it security has been beefed up along the beach promenade but the ever glitzy event has not escaped controversy the event has been highly politicized from the beginning there have been some calls to boycott the event because of Israel's military occupation of the Palestinian territories international Palestinian and Israeli artists signed petitions to urge others to stay away from the event now that it's arrived they still want to highlight what they see as the political reality let's stop for a second and try to look at reality from a bit higher perspective not only this you know this bitch is really beautiful and everybody's happy and smiling and the beer is tasty but just few kilometers from here really crazy things are happening here at the Eurovision press enter politics couldn't be further away the organizer of the contest the European broadcasting Union has set strict rules banning politics from this stage among bloggers and journalists covering the event it's all about who is going to win this year's contest the Dutch entry is one of the favorites Laurence Duncan with kind of cheesy nice ballad is in first place but my favorite and my bet hopefully is Bilal Hassan II the French singer 19 years old Muslim gay and he's now climbed up to fourth place in the odds hopefully he'll win Sweden with John lundvik his second place so it's Sweden France Holland that's the big battle fewer foreign visitors than expected have turned up but with pop icon Madonna making a guest appearance the final on Saturday is still sold out GWS Tanya Kramer put that report together for us she joins us now from Jerusalem good morning to you Tanya can you tell us how much our politics right now overshadowing the music this year well as you could see in the report I mean it depends really who you ask very early on when it was clear that Israel will host this music event there were calls for boycott one of the main groups was the boycott divestment and sanctions campaign a Palestinian group arguing actually that this bringing this event here would whitewash Israel's policies in the occupied Palestinian territory and they had called on broadcasters on the artists and also on the fence not to take part in it and also there have been petitions by international artists of Palestinian and Israeli artists to highlight human vile human rights violations by the Israeli army in the Palestinian territory but at the same time you also had petitions who said we this boy this event shouldn't be boycotted also by international artists and having said that the ebu has set out very clear rules that this is not a political event and called on this event to go ahead and none of the podcasters actually have followed these boycott calls so people we have to wait and see a bit if some of the local protests that have been happening here in the past days I will continue also until the grand finale on Saturday okay there wasn't only the increased pressure from the BDS community but there also huge security concerns especially since last week's rocket attacks by a mass on Israel how has that affected security for the contest yeah this has certainly added at the time more security concerns the escalation between Gaza militants and the Israeli army that time had been ended by understandings brokered by Egypt and those understandings are now slowly being implemented but the test really comes this week because it also coincide actually last like last year around the Eurovision again with anniversaries today and commemorations today Palestinians are commemorating the Nakba day it's the day they can commemorate every year when their ancestors had to flee from the homeland 1948 during the arab-israeli war so they are always every year demonstrations and protests we also hear their protests being held again again along the Gaza border and last year just to remind you it was today when the Israel the US Embassy was moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem that coincided also with your vision at the time over 50 protesters were killed by Israeli sniper fire so all this adds of course to some of the tensions but having said that we saw in the report security has been beefed up along the beaches and also the main euro village where all the fans will be watching those who are not having tickets will be watching on a big screen the event so security is certainly heightened around the event for the whole week Tom you know just a few seconds left Madonna's appearance could that be a bright spot for this event well she has already said she will come no matter what she said she doesn't want to hear any cause for boycott and she said she wants to bring a message of peace to this area and that she does really care about what's happening here so that will be her message she says supposed to be guessing at the grand finale on Saturday Tanya Kramer for us thanks very much for that