Israel’s Head of Press, Alon Amir, has published a book called “Three Minutes of Eternity”. In the book, Amir reveals some of the terrifying moments he and his delegation experienced during the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan. He says that the delegation only just escaped a kidnapping attempt…
The book Alon Amir has written gives its reader an exclusive insight in the life of a delegation member. He mentions that Israel have always been a special case in Eurovision and 2012 was one of the most remarkable years in its Eurovision history.
Aside from a terrorist attack, which was prevented ahead of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, forty people were arrested for planning to kidnap the Israeli delegation from Baku and take them to Iran, a neighbouring country.
The plans had been worked out in the most detailed manner possible, as we can now see. After kidnapping the delegation, including Izabo, from the hotel, the group would set bombs off in both the hotel and the venue of the Eurovision Song Contest 2012.
Thankfully, both Azerbaijani and Israeli intelligence services found out about the dangers well ahead of the contest. The security was brought to high levels, in order to keep the Israeli delegation safe in Baku. The delegation hotel looked more like a safehouse, according to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf who spoke to Alon Amir in Amsterdam last weekend.
Withdrawal was out of the question
The Israeli delegation knew there were dangers to taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest in Baku. Due to the open border between Iran and Azerbaijan, the Israelis knew they had to be careful. However, in a comment to ESCXTRA.com, Alon Amir said:
We knew there would be risks. We didn’t think even for a second not to go. Fifteen special agents came with us who prevented us from being kidnapped. They did their job very well.
Extra Azerbaijani efforts
In the run up to the Eurovision Song Contest 2012, the dangers were starting to get clear for the Israelis, as well as for the services in Azerbaijan. Both intelligence services strengthened their connections in order to guarantee safety for Izabo and their delegation during their stay in Azerbaijan, so they could take part in the contest.
Fifteen special agents travelled with the delegation to Baku. The local authorities made sure the Azerbaijani police and even the army were alert of any dangers in Baku. Contrary to what De Telegraaf claim, Alon Amir confirms to us that there were no gunshots at the hotel in Baku. The Azerbaijani police and the Israeli secret services managed to capture the team of forty people before they could kidnap the delegation, including Alon Amir.
At the emergency meeting late at night, the organisers had to discuss the safety of the event. Was it even safe to let the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 take place, because of the the terrorist threat hanging over their heads? In the end, the organisers decided the event had to take place. The Israeli group taking part that year, Izabo, participated in the semifinal with their song “Time”. They sadly didn’t make it to the final.
Three Minutes to Eternity
Alon Amir’s book, Three Minutes To Eternity, is available for international purchase through Amazon. You can find it here, where you can buy it as paperback or as Kindle eBook. The book itself has fictional elements. However, this story has been checked with the CIDI, EBU and the Israeli embassy in The Netherlands by De Telegraaf, who initially reported this this morning. They have received confirmation of the arrest of forty members of a terrorist group, who were aiming to kidnap the Israeli delegation in Baku. We can therefore safely confirm the truth of these events.