Israelis Lose It After Eurovision Win

It was the first win for the country since 1998
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 13, 2018 3:00 PM CDT
Israeli fans celebrate after Netta from Israel won the competition in Lisbon, Portugal, Sunday, May 13, 2018 during the Eurovision Song Contest grand final.   (AP Photo/Armando Franca)
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(Newser) – Thousands of Israelis took to the streets early Sunday to celebrate their country's victory in the Eurovision Song Contest. Fans flooded Tel Aviv's Rabin Square in front of City Hall, with some euphorically jumping into a public fountain, after Netta Barzilai was announced the winner in Portugal with her techno dance tune "Toy." The City Hall building was lit up to spell "Toy" and electronic signs throughout the city congratulated her. The 25-year-old Barzilai, popularly known by her first name, has become a sensation in Israel thanks to her oozing confidence, charisma and spastic performances, which include a clucking sound like a chicken and barely decipherable words, as well as the use of a looping machine and synthesizer. The win—Israel's first since 1998 and fourth overall—means it will host next year's contest, per the AP.

The prospect of Israel hosting next year's contest in Jerusalem shines a spotlight on the contested city just as Israel marks the annual Jerusalem Day, the anniversary of what it refers to as the city's "unification" following the 1967 war, and a day before the United States is set to officially open its embassy in the city. Israel captured east Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Mideast war. It later annexed the eastern sector in a move not recognized internationally. The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, a position with wide international backing. When the Eurovision hosts turned to each country to hear their votes, Jerusalem was the only capital city not mentioned by name.

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