Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest

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Israel
Flag
Member stationIsraeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (Kan)
National selection events
Participation summary
Appearances41 (35 finals)
First appearance1973
Best result1st: 1978, 1979, 1998, 2018
Worst result24th SF: 2007
External links
Kan page
Israel's page at Eurovision.tv
Song contest current event.png For the most recent participation see
Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest 2018

Israel has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 41 times since making its debut in 1973. Israel was able to enter the contest as the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) is a member organisation of the European Broadcasting Union, which is responsible for the event. Israel has won the contest four times, and has hosted the contest twice, in 1979 and 1999, both time in Jerusalem. Israel will host the contest for the third time in Tel Aviv in 2019.

Israel's first appearance at the contest in 1973 was successful, with Ilanit finishing fourth. Israel then achieved victories in 1978 and 1979, with wins for Izhar Cohen and the Alphabeta, with the song "A-Ba-Ni-Bi" and Gali Atari and Milk and Honey, with "Hallelujah". In 1980, the IBA declined to host the contest for the second successive year for financial reasons, and as the date for the contest in The Hague conflicted with Yom Hazikaron – Israeli Memorial Day – Israel did not participate. This is the only time that the winning country did not compete the following year. The country's best results in the 1980s were the second-place finishes for Avi Toledano in 1982 and Ofra Haza in 1983. Former winner Izhar Cohen returned to place fifth in 1985, before Duo Datz finished third in 1991. Israel achieved its third victory in 1998, with Dana International and "Diva". Eden then finished fifth in 1999. As of 2018, Israel has the record for most participations in the contest without ever coming last, but it has placed second to last in the final three times, in 1986, 1993 and 2006.

Since the introduction of the semi-finals in 2004, Israel has failed to reach the final six times. In 2005, Shiri Maimon gave the country its tenth top five result, finishing fourth. Having failed to qualify for the final for four consecutive years (2011–14), Israel reached the final for the first time in five years, with Nadav Guedj finishing ninth in 2015. Israel's fourth victory came when Netta won the 2018 contest in Lisbon, with the song "Toy".

History[edit]

Victories[edit]

To date there have been four Israeli victories in the contest. Izhar Cohen and Alphabeta won in Paris in 1978 with the uptempo A-Ba-Ni-Bi. On home ground in Jerusalem the following year, Israel won again, this time with the anthemic Hallelujah performed by Gali Atari & Milk and Honey. Unusually, Israel did not defend the title in 1980 (see below). The third victory came almost 20 years later in Birmingham in 1998. Singer Dana International took top honours with the song Diva, setting off widespread celebrations in Israel. Twenty years later, Israel earned their fourth victory at the 2018 contest in Lisbon, Portugal. The song was "Toy" by Netta Barzilai, which earned Israel their highest-ever score of 529 points.

Other performances[edit]

Israel's earliest selections were picked by the Israel Broadcasting Authority. The first singer to represent the country in 1973 was Ilanit, who finished 4th. Criticism increased after she was sent again four years later, leading to a rule that the winner of the already established Hebrew Song and Chorus Festival would also represent Israel at the contest. The Eurovision Song Contest winners of 1978 and 1979 were selected by this method. From 1981 the selection process was handled by the Kdam Eurovision with the exceptions of 1990, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002–2004, 2006–2007 and 2010 where the selections were again picked by the IBA.

After winning the contest in 1978 and 1979, the IBA was financially and logistically unable to organise the event for the second consecutive year. The organization of the festival was subsequently handed over to the Netherlands who finally agreed to stage it. Because much time had already passed, it was difficult to find a suitable date for the Song Contest. The date chosen coincided with a memorial day in Israel, and the country was forced to withdraw. This made Israel the only country to date unable to defend its title. The 1980 Hebrew Song and Chorus Festival therefore did not double as a national final that year unlike the last two years, and the winning song "Pizmon Chozer" by the band The Brothers & the Sisters was never given the chance to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest. In 1984 Israel once again refrained from participating due to the same date conflict. The song "Balalaika" by Ilanit has often been rumoured to originally have been intended as the Israel entry in Eurovision Song Contest 1984 but the rumours have never been confirmed.

Apart from its victories, Israel's entries have had a mixed reception at the contest. Avi Toledano (1982) and Ofra Haza (1983) scored well with big revivalist numbers, but the all-singing, all-dancing style became less popular later in the decade and Israel's 1986 entry, Yavo Yom by Moti Giladi & Sarai Tzuriel, came in 19th, the country's worst showing yet.

In 1987 Israel finished 8th with Shir Habatlanim by the satiric duo Lazy Bums. Due to its satiric nature, it prompted then Israeli Minister of Culture, Yitzhak Navon, to threaten to resign, if the song went on to represent Israel on the night of the contest. However, he didn't.

In 1990 Rita's sensuous ballad was not well received, but in 1991, Orna and Moshe Datz finished third, Israel's best result since 1983. Israel's third victory occurred in 1998, when Dana International won the crown with her song "Diva." Israel also had a 5th-place finish by Eden when it hosted the 1999 contest. However, Ping-Pong's disco effort in 2000 failed badly, though the group was noted for their largely optimistic lyrics and message of reconciliation and peace in Western Asia. They went as far as waving Syrian flags at the end of their performance, angering some Israelis.

In 2004 David D'Or came in 11th in the semifinal with the song "Leha'amin" (להאמין), leaving Israel out of the finals for the first time since 1997. Shiri Maymon's performance in Kiev in 2005 brought Israel back to the top five, and ensured a place in the Athens 2006 final. In 2006, Israel was represented by singer Eddie Butler, who had finished 5th as part of Eden in 1999; however, his performance of the song "Together We Are One" finished 23rd, with just four points.

IBA's Eurovision committee chose the band Teapacks to represent Israel in the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest Semi-Final in Helsinki. Their humorous entry "Push the Button" did not fare well, finishing in 24th place out of a semifinal field of 28 and failing to reach the final. Israel had to compete in the semi-final in Belgrade 2008, from which it passed on to the final; Boaz finished ninth. At the Eurovision Song Contest 2009, an Arab citizen of Israel represented the country for the first time, as Mira Awad performed along with Jewish-Israeli singer Noa in Moscow. Israel was represented in 2010 by Harel Skaat, who came in 14th in the final.

Israel's participations from 2011 to 2014 were less successful, as former Eurovision winner Dana International in Düsseldorf, the band Izabo in Baku, Moran Mazor in Malmö and Mei Finegold in Copenhagen, all failed to qualify for the final. However, 16-year-old Nadav Guedj qualified with Golden Boy in 2015, the first Israel song without a Hebrew lyric. Prior to their fourth win, they also managed to qualify in 2016 with Hovi Star and "Made of Stars" (which finished 14th) and in 2017 with Imri Ziv and "I Feel Alive" (which finished 23rd, Israel's lowest score in a Eurovision final since 2006).

Contestants[edit]

Table key
  Winner
  Second place
  Third place
  Last place
  Withdrew
YearArtistLanguageTitleFinalPointsSemiPoints
1973IlanitHebrew"Ey Sham" (אי שם)497No semi-finals
1974KaveretHebrew"Natati La Khayay" (נתתי לה חיי)711
1975Shlomo ArtziHebrew"At Va'Ani" (את ואני)1140
1976Chocolate, Menta, MastikHebrew"Emor Shalom" (אמור שלום)677
1977IlanitHebrew"Ahava Hi Shir Lishnayim" (אהבה היא שיר לשניים)1149
1978Izhar Cohen & the AlphabetaHebrew"A-Ba-Ni-Bi" (א-ב-ני-בי)1157
1979Gali Atari & Milk and HoneyHebrew"Hallelujah" (הללויה)1125
1980Did not participate
1981Hakol Over HabibiHebrew"Halayla" (הלילה)756
1982Avi ToledanoHebrew"Hora" (הורה)2100
1983Ofra HazaHebrew"Hi" (חי)2136
1984Did not participate
1985Izhar CohenHebrew"Olé, Olé" (עולה, עולה)593
1986Moti Giladi & Sarai TzurielHebrew"Yavo Yom" (יבוא יום)197
1987Lazy BumsHebrew"Shir Habatlanim" (שיר הבטלנים)873
1988Yardena AraziHebrew"Ben Adam" (בן אדם)785
1989Gili & GalitHebrew"Derekh Hamelekh" (דרך המלך)1250
1990RitaHebrew"Shara Barkhovot" (שרה ברחובות)1816
1991Duo DatzHebrew"Kan" (כאן)3139
1992Dafna DekelHebrew"Ze Rak Sport" (זה רק ספורט)685
1993Sarah'le Sharon & The Shiru GroupHebrew, English"Shiru" (שירו)244
1994Did not participate
1995LioraHebrew"Amen" (אמן)881
1996aGalit BellHebrew"Shalom Olam" (שלום עולם)Failed to qualify2812
1997Did not participateNo semi-finals
1998Dana InternationalHebrew"Diva" (דיווה)1172c
1999EdenHebrew, English"Yom Huledet (Happy Birthday)" (יום הולדת)593
2000PingPongHebrew"Sameach" (שמח)227
2001Tal SondakHebrew"En Davar" (אין דבר)1625
2002Sarit HadadHebrew, English"Nadlik Beyakhad Ner (Light A Candle)" (נדליק ביחד נר)1237
2003Lior NarkisHebrew, English"Milim La'Ahava" (מילים לאהבה)1917
2004David D'OrHebrew, English"Leha'amin" (להאמין)Failed to qualify1157
2005Shiri MaimonEnglish, Hebrew"HaSheket SheNish'ar" (השקט שנשאר)41547158
2006Eddie ButlerEnglish, Hebrew"Together We Are One"234Top 11 Previous Year[a]
2007TeapacksEnglish, French, Hebrew"Push the Button"Failed to qualify2417
2008Bo'az Ma'udaHebrew, English"The Fire In Your Eyes"91245104
2009Noa & Mira AwadEnglish, Hebrew, Arabic"There Must Be Another Way"1653775
2010Harel SkaatHebrew"Milim" (מילים)1471871
2011Dana InternationalHebrew, English"Ding Dong" (דינג דונג)Failed to qualify1538
2012IzaboEnglish, Hebrew"Time"1333
2013Moran MazorHebrew"Rak bishvilo" (רק בשבילו)1440
2014Mei FinegoldEnglish, Hebrew"Same Heart"1419
2015Nadav GuedjEnglish"Golden Boy"9973151
2016Hovi StarEnglish"Made of Stars"141357147
2017IMRIEnglish"I Feel Alive"23393207
2018NettaEnglish"Toy"15291283
2019Host country
NOTES:
a. ^ In 1996 Israel failed to qualify for the contest. There was an audio only pre-qualification round for all countries (excluding hosts Norway). The official Eurovision site does not count 1996 in Israel's list of appearances.
b. If a country had won the previous year, they did not have to compete in the semi-finals the following year. In addition from 2004-2007, the top ten placed countries who were not one of the "Big Four" did not have to compete in the semi-finals the following year. If, for example, Germany and France placed inside the top ten, the countries who placed 11th and 12th were advanced to the following year's grand final along with the rest of the top ten countries.
c. ^ Spain originally gave its 12 points to Israel and 10 to Norway. After the broadcast it was announced that Spanish broadcaster wrongly tallied the votes and Germany should have got the top mark - 12 points - instead of being snubbed, as it happened. The mistake was corrected and so Germany was placed 7th over Norway. Israel and Norway both received 2 points less than originally and Croatia, Malta, Portugal, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Belgium, Estonia and Turkey all received one point less than indicated during the broadcast.

Conductors[edit]

  • Nurit Hirsh (1973, 1978)
  • Yonatan Rechter (1974)
  • Eldad Shrem (1975, 1977, 1981, 1988)
  • Matti Caspi (1976)
  • Izhak Graziani (musical director in 1979, but did not conduct any entry)
  • Kobi Oshrat (1979, 1985, 1987, 1991–92)
  • Silvio Nansi Brandes (1982–83)
  • Yoram Zadok (1986)
  • Shaike Paikov (1989)
  • Rami Levin (1990)
  • Amir Frohlich (1993)
  • Gadi Goldman (1995)
  • Prior to 1999, the Israeli entry was performed without orchestral accompaniment in 1998.[1]

Voting history[edit]

As of 2018, Israel's voting history is as follows:

Hostings[edit]

YearLocationVenuePresenters
1979JerusalemInternational Convention CenterYardena Arazi and Daniel Pe'er
1999Dafna Dekel, Sigal Shachmon and Yigal Ravid
2019Tel AvivTel Aviv Convention CenterTBA

Other awards[edit]

Marcel Bezençon Awards[edit]

Press Award

YearSongPerformerFinal ResultPointsHost city
2010"Milim" (מילים)Harel Skaat14th71Oslo

Artistic Award (Voted by commentators)

YearPerformerSongFinal ResultPointsHost city
2010Harel Skaat"Milim" (מילים)14th71Oslo

Composer Award

YearSongComposer(s)
Lyrics (l) / Music (m)
PerformerFinal
Result
PointsHost city
2010"Milim" (מילים)Tomer Hadadi (m) and Noam Horev (l)Harel Skaat14th71Oslo

OGAE Eurovision Song Contest Poll[edit]

YearSongPerformerFinal ResultPointsHost city
2018"Toy"Netta1st529Lisbon

Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest[edit]

Table key
  Winner
  Second place
  Third place
  Last place
YearArtistLanguageTitleFinalPointsSemiPointsPlace (1998)Points (1998)
1998Dana InternationalHebrew"Diva (דיווה)"Failed to qualify13391172

Hosts and presenters[edit]

Year(s)CommentatorSpokesperson
1973No commentatorN/A
1974Yitzhak Shim'oni
1975
1976
1977
1978
1979Yoram ArbelDan Kaner
1980No BroadcastIsrael did not participate
1981No commentatorDan Kaner
1982Yitzhak Shim'oni
1983
1984Israel did not participate
1985Yitzhak Shim'oni
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992Daniel Pe'er
1993Daniel Pe'erDanny Rup
1994No commentatorIsrael did not participate
1995Daniel Pe'er
1996Israel did not participate
1997No Broadcast
1998No commentatorYigal Ravid
1999Yoav Ginai
2000
2001
2002Michal Zoharetz
2003
2004Merav Miller
2005Dana Herman
2006
2007Jason Danino-Holt
2008Noa Barak-Weshler
2009Ofer Nachshon
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018Asaf Liberman and Shir Reuven (first semi-final)
Itai Herman and Goel Pinto (second semi-final)
Erez Tal[2] and Idit Hershkowitz (final)
Lucy Ayoub

Gallery[edit]

Arab reaction to Israeli participation[edit]

In 1978, during the performance of the Israeli entry, the Jordanian broadcaster JRTV suspended the broadcast, and instead showed pictures of flowers. When it became apparent during the later stages of the voting sequence that Israel was going to win the contest, JRTV abruptly ended the transmission.[3] Afterwards, the Jordanian news media refused to acknowledge the fact that Israel had won, and announced that the winner was Belgium (which had actually come in second).[4] By coincidence, Israel did not broadcast the victory either, as the IBA did not buy enough broadcasting time.[citation needed] The victory was broadcast the next day.

At the time, Israeli Television was in its infancy and broadcasting in black & white. Many/most Israelis therefore watched international events in colour, using the signal from neighbouring Jordan. As Jordan did not broadcast the Israeli entry and the IBA did not broadcast the results part of the event, the win only became known as a result of radio broadcasts.

Because of Israel's participation in the Eurovision Song Contest, many Arab states that are eligible to participate do not do so. Tunisia, Morocco, and Lebanon are cases in point.[citation needed] Tunisia was about to participate in 1977, but decided not to do so in the end; Lebanon was just about to participate in 2005 when it withdrew (incurring a fine by the EBU) because Lebanese law does not allow recognition of Israel, and consequently Lebanese television would not transmit any Israeli material – which would have been a violation of EBU's (European Broadcasting Union) rules.[5]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ According to the then-Eurovision rules, the top ten non-Big Four countries from the previous year along with the Big Four automatically qualified for the Grand Final without having to compete in semi-finals. For example, if Germany and France placed inside the top ten, the 11th and 12th spots were advanced to next year's Grand Final along with all countries ranked in the top ten.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://andtheconductoris.eu/
  2. ^ @kann (April 23, 2018). "יש לנו ציוץ דוז פואה" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  3. ^ O'Connor, John Kennedy (2005). The Eurovision Song Contest 50 Years The Official History. London: Carlton Books Limited. ISBN 1-84442-586-X.
  4. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 1978". esctoday.com. 2005. Retrieved 8 May 2007.
  5. ^ "Lebanon withdraws from Eurovision". BBC News. 18 March 2005. Retrieved 15 July 2006.

External links[edit]