After winning the competition to represent Israel in the international Eurovision contest, Shalva was forced to bow out due to their dedication to Sabbath observance. But their performance on Saturday night as an interval act brought the crowd to tears.
The band won the popular vote on the television talent show, “Hakochav Habah,” or “The Next Star” in February. The schedule for contestants required rehearsals on Friday and Saturday. Several of the members of Shalva are Sabbath observant so the chose to relinquish their spot rather than violate the Shabbat.
— BBC Eurovision (@bbceurovision) May 16, 2019
The eight members of the Shalva Band have various disabilities. Singers Anael Khalifa, originally from France, and Dina Sameth, originally from India, were both born blind and several of the performers have Down Syndrome. They began making music in 2005 as part of a music therapy program as part of Shalva The Israel Association for Care and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities.
During an interval in the performance on Thursday night, the Shalva Band performed a moving rendition of “A Million Dreams.” The performance received an especially long standing ovation and many in the audience were visibly brought to tears.