LEBANON has pulled out of this year’s Eurovision song contest because an Israeli is competing, organisers said.
The country withdrew because it would have had to broadcast the Israeli portions of the contest, to be held on May 19 and 21 in Kiev, Ukraine.
A statement on the Eurovision website said: "According to Lebanese legislation, Tele Liban is not permitted to broadcast the performance of the Israeli participant, thereby breaching the rules of the Eurovision Song Contest 2005."
All national broadcasters of participating countries must televise the entire event, comprising a semi-final and a final.
Tele Liban’s head, Ibrahim Khoury, confirmed the decision to pull out, saying that the broadcaster was unaware of the presence of an Israeli participant when it confirmed its entry in December.
"Lebanon is in a state of war with Israel. If the Israeli contestant wins, we would have to show the celebrations," Khoury said.
He would also be obliged to allow viewers to vote for the Israeli entry. "I cannot do this," he said.