On April 5, 28 Eurovision finalists planted trees in Israel representing their countries during a four-day promotional tour ahead of the 62nd Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev, May 9-13, 2017. The planting was held in the Eurovision Forest, a section of the Keren Kayemet L’Israel-Jewish National Fund Presidents Forest.

The artists and accompanying journalists, bloggers and videographers from 28 countries – Armenia to Switzerland, plus Israel — received a guided tour of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Herzliya. On April 5, the contestants performed their songs for local and international media at the Theater Club in Tel Aviv.

Eurovision reportedly is viewed live by some 200 million people in Europe, Australia, the United States, China, Canada and other countries.

Eurovision 2017 contestant Jana Burčeska from FYR Macedonia planting a tree in the Eurovision Forest in Israel. Photo by Yosi Zeliger/KKL-JNF

“Israel Calling 2017” marked the second time that the majority of Eurovision Song Contest participants have toured Israel. The project, initiated and produced by Tali Eshkoli, is held in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage, the Jewish National Fund, StandWithUs and the Herzliya and Tel Aviv-Yafo municipalities.

“This event offers all of us the opportunity to connect cultures and different musical styles to one huge nature, similar to that offered by the State of Israel,” said KKL-JNF World Chairman Daniel Atar. “This unique encounter leads to mutual cooperation and brotherhood between different nations and cultures under common ideas, where nature and music are one.”

The Eurovision group at Jerusalem’s Western Wall. Photo via Facebook

Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin said he hopes to turn the “Israel Calling” event into an established tradition. “We believe that music, like tourism, is a bridge between people,” he said.