Israel has been crowned Eurovision champion a staggering FOUR TIMES, each song winning with its unique and revolutionary style. Because it is Eurovision week here in Israel (OMG thanks Netta), we want to recap each song that crowned Israel Eurovision winner!
In 1978, Israel won Eurovision for the first time with the song “Ah-Ba-Ni-Bi”. The composers of the song had a wild idea: to add sounds beginning with the letter “beth” in Hebrew after each syllable. If we remove the syllables starting with “beth” from the chorus, we get the phrase “Ani ohev Otah” (I love you). Therefore, it met the rules of Eurovision of the time that required each contestant to sing in their native language. Mazal tov Israel!
The second victory of the State of Israel came just ONE year later, in 1979, with the song “Hallelujah”, performed by the very popular Israeli singer Gali Atari. The young woman was accompanied by the group Milk and Honey (in reference to the country “where milk and honey flow”).
Note: The State of Israel knew that it could neither participate nor organize the next edition of Eurovision in the case of a victory because the contest was to take place on Yom Hazikaron.
The song has survived the test of time and remains one of the most popular traditional Israeli hits. For Israel’s 70th anniversary, Gali Atari sang the song with pop star Eden Ben Zaken, symbolizing the different generations of Israeli’s coming together to celebrate Israel’s independence.
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On May 9, 1998, Israeli singer Dana International earned the Eurovision crown with the song “Diva” against steep competition from 23 other competing countries. Dana, who identifies as Female, was born Yaron Cohen, son of Yemeni Jews who immigrated to Israel in 1947. Dana’s victory was monumental not only for the LGBTQ community but also set an example for the rest of the world, as Israel exemplified how a country should be proud of all its citizens.
In May 2018, Israel won yet again. This time, it was Netta Brazilay with her international hit “Toy.” Netta’s song about women’s empowerment made the planet dance and inspired girls and women everywhere to stand up and demand to be treated with respect.
Recently, the newest Israeli diva released “Bassa Sababa,” the most expensive music video ever created by an Israeli artist.