Israel's Eurovision webcast hacked with fake rocket attack warning

Israel blames Hamas after Eurovision webcast hacked with fake rocket attack warning
3 min read
15 May, 2019
Hackers interrupted a live Eurovision broadcast with fake warnings from Israel's army that Tel Aviv would soon come under attack.
Viewers were told to evacuate the area around the Eurovision venue [Twitter]
Israel has blamed Hamas after hackers succeeded in flashing a fake rocket attack warning during a webcast of a Eurovision song contest semi-final on Tuesday.

Viewers tuning into Israeli national broadcaster Kan's livestream of the Eurovision song contest semi-final on Tuesday evening experience a brief shock when hackers reportedly interrupted the broadcast with a fake warning from Israel's army that Tel Aviv would soon come under attack, local media reported.

The forged IDF warning told civilians to seek shelter from an incoming rocket attack within 1.2 kilometres of the Eurovision venue in northern Tel Aviv.

"Israel is not safe. You will see," said the message.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the hack, but Kan on Wednesday blamed the "attack" on Hamas, the Palestinian faction that controls the besieged Gaza Strip.

Kan, the official Eurovision broadcaster in Israel, did not say why it believed Hamas had "perpetrated" the hack.

It added that it believed that very few viewers had seen the falsified warning.

Hamas has not yet commented on the hack.

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were subjected to days of aerial bombardment by Israeli forces earlier this month, while Hamas and Islamic Jihad reportedly fired 600 rockets into Israel.

Before a ceasefire was reached, 25 Palestinians and four Israelis were killed.

After Israeli singer Netta Barzilai won the 2018 Eurovision contest in Portugal, Palestinians and allies pledged to boycott the 2019 contest over the occupation of Palestine.

But efforts by activists calling for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel have failed to move the competition.

Activists have called on international superstar Madonna to cancel a planned half-time performance during the Eurovision final on Saturday night.

London Palestine Action are releasing three Madonna spoofs to draw attention to the issue, including "Madonna Don't Go", a parody of Papa Don't Preach.

Other artists, including Mercury Prize-winning band Wolf Alice, have responded to the call for boycott.

But the Queen of Pop has refused to boycott the song contest, saying on Tuesday she would "never stop playing music to suit someone's political agenda".

The Palestinian Authority has also weighed in, demanding that Kan stop broadcasting Eurovision "propaganda" videos featuring Jerusalem.

The public broadcaster aired a clip aimed at tourists travelling to the country for Eurovision, which featured a shot of east Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound.

It also referred to Jerusalem as "our beloved capital", despite Palestinians claiming the occupied eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

The foreign ministry said Israel was using the song competition to "entrench its colonial occupation by effectively normalising the global acceptance of its unlawful conduct."

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