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Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest


Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest

Member station IBA
National selection events
Appearances 38 (32 finals)
First appearance 1973
Best result 1st: 1978, 1979, 1998
Worst result 24th SF: 2007
External links
IBA page
Israel's page at

European Broadcasting Union, which is responsible for the event. Israel has won the contest three times.

Israel's first appearance at the contest in 1973 was successful, with Ilanit finishing fourth. Israel then achieved back to back 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". 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. Duo Datz finished third in 1991, before Israel achieved its third victory in 1998, with Dana International and "Diva". Eden then finished fifth in 1999. Israel has hosted the contest twice, in 1979 and 1999, both times in Jerusalem. In 1980, the IBA declined to host the contest for a second successive year for financial reasons. Instead the contest was held in The Hague. As the date set for the 1980 contest 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. As of 2014, 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 2014, the country failed to qualify for the fourth consecutive year, when Mei Feingold finished 14th (out of 15) in the second semi final, despite being one of the favourites to qualify. In 2015, Israel reached the final for the first time in five years, with Nadav Guedj finishing ninth. The only Israeli entrant to achieve a better result in the 21st century is Shiri Maimon in 2005, who gave the country its tenth top five result in the contest, finishing fourth.


  • History 1
    • Victories 1.1
    • Other performances 1.2
  • Arab reaction to Israeli participation 2
  • Contestants 3
  • Voting history 4
  • Hostings 5
  • Marcel Bezençon Awards 6
  • Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest 7
  • Commentators and spokespersons 8
  • Photogallery 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12



To date there have been three 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.

Other performances

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.

The winner of the 1980 Hebrew Song and Chorus Festival, a band called memorial day in Israel, and the country was forced to withdraw. This made Israel the only country to date unable to defend its title.

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 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 in the last four contests from 2011 to 2014 have been 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.

Arab reaction to Israeli participation

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.[1] 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 2nd).[2] By coincidence, Israel didn't broadcast the victory either, as the IBA did not buy enough broadcasting time. The victory was broadcast the next day.

Because of Israel's participation in the Eurovision Song Contest, many Arab states that are eligible to participate decided not to do so. Tunisia, Morocco, and Lebanon are cases in point. 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;[3]


Table key
  Second place
  Third place
  Last place
Year Artist Language Title Final Points Semi Points
1973 Ilanit Hebrew "Ey Sham" (אי שם) 4 97 No semi-finals
1974 Kaveret Hebrew "Natati La Khayay" (נתתי לה חיי) 7 11
1975 Shlomo Artzi Hebrew "At Va'Ani" (את ואני) 11 40
1976 Chocolate, Menta, Mastik Hebrew "Emor Shalom" (אמור שלום) 6 77
1977 Ilanit Hebrew "Ahava Hi Shir Lishnayim" (אהבה היא שיר לשניים) 11 49
1978 Izhar Cohen & the Alphabeta Hebrew "A-Ba-Ni-Bi" (א-ב-ני-בי) 1 157
1979 Gali Atari & Milk and Honey Hebrew "Hallelujah" (הללויה) 1 125
1980 The Brothers & the Sisters Hebrew "Pizmon Chozer" (פזמון חוזר) Withdrew
1981 Hakol Over Habibi Hebrew "Halayla" (הלילה) 7 56
1982 Avi Toledano Hebrew "Hora" (הורה) 2 100
1983 Ofra Haza Hebrew "Hi" (חי) 2 136
1984 Ilanit Hebrew "Balalaika" (בללייקה) Withdrew
1985 Izhar Cohen Hebrew "Olé, Olé" (עולה, עולה) 5 93
1986 Moti Giladi & Sarai Tzuriel Hebrew "Yavo Yom" (יבוא יום) 19 7
1987 Lazy Bums Hebrew "Shir Habatlanim" (שיר הבטלנים) 8 73
1988 Yardena Arazi Hebrew "Ben Adam" (בן אדם) 7 85
1989 Gili & Galit Hebrew "Derekh Hamelekh" (דרך המלך) 12 50
1990 Rita Hebrew "Shara Barkhovot" (שרה ברחובות) 18 16
1991 Duo Datz Hebrew "Kan" (כאן) 3 139
1992 Dafna Dekel Hebrew "Ze Rak Sport" (זה רק ספורט) 6 85
1993 Sarah'le Sharon & The Shiru Group Hebrew, English "Shiru" (שירו) 24 4
1994 Did not participate
1995 Liora Hebrew "Amen" (אמן) 8 81
1996 Galit Bell Hebrew "Shalom Olam" (שלום עולם) Failed to qualify 28 12
1997 Did not participate No semi-finals
1998 Dana International Hebrew "Diva" (דיווה) 1 172
1999 Eden Hebrew, English "Yom Huledet (Happy Birthday)" (יום הולדת) 5 93
2000 PingPong Hebrew, English "Sameach" (שמח) 22 7
2001 Tal Sondak Hebrew "En Davar" (אין דבר) 16 25
2002 Sarit Hadad Hebrew, English "Nadlik Beyakhad Ner (Light A Candle)" (נדליק ביחד נר) 12 37
2003 Lior Narkis Hebrew, English "Milim La'Ahava" (מילים לאהבה) 19 17
2004 David D'Or Hebrew, English "Leha'amin" (להאמין) Failed to qualify 12 57
2005 Shiri Maimon English, Hebrew "HaSheket SheNish'ar" (השקט שנשאר) 4 154 7 158
2006 Eddie Butler English, Hebrew "Together We Are One" (זה הזמן) 23 4 Top 11 Previous Year
2007 Teapacks English, French, Hebrew "Push the Button" (כפתור אדום) Failed to qualify 24 17
2008 Bo'az Ma'uda Hebrew, English "The Fire In Your Eyes" (כאילו כאן) 9 124 5 104
2009 Noa & Mira Awad English, Hebrew, Arabic "There Must Be Another Way" (עינייך) 16 53 7 75
2010 Harel Skaat Hebrew "Milim" (מילים) 14 71 8 71
2011 Dana International Hebrew, English "Ding Dong" (דינג דונג) Failed to qualify 15 38
2012 Izabo English, Hebrew "Time" (זמן) 13 33
2013 Moran Mazor Hebrew "Rak bishvilo" (רק בשבילו) 14 40
2014 Mei Finegold English, Hebrew "Same Heart" 14 19
2015 Nadav Guedj English "Golden Boy" 9 97 3 151
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.

Voting history

As of 2015, Israel's voting history is as follows:


Year Location Venue Presenters
1979 Jerusalem International Convention Center Yardena Arazi and Daniel Pe'er
1999 Dafna Dekel, Sigal Shachamon and Yigal Ravid

Marcel Bezençon Awards

Press Award
Year Song Performer Final Result Points Host city
2010 "Milim" (מילים) Harel Skaat 14th 71 Oslo
Artistic Award

(Voted by commentators)

Year Performer Song Final Result Points Host city
2010 Harel Skaat "Milim" (מילים) 14th 71 Oslo

Composer Award

Year Song Composer(s)
Lyrics (l) / Music (m)
Performer Final
Points Host city
2010 "Milim" (מילים) Tomer Hadadi (m) and Noam Horev (l) Harel Skaat 14th 71 Oslo

Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest

Table key
  Second place
  Third place
  Last place
Year Artist Language Title Final Points Semi Points Place (1998) Points (1998)
1998 Dana International Hebrew "Diva (דיווה)" Failed to qualify 13 39 1 172

Commentators and spokespersons

Year(s) Commentator Spokesperson
1973 No commentator N/A
1974 Yitzhak Shim'oni
1979 Yoram Arbel Dan Kaner
1980 No Broadcast Israel did not participate
1981 No commentator Daniel Pe'er
1982 Yitzhak Shim'oni
1984 Israel did not participate
1985 Yitzhak Shim'oni
1992 Daniel Pe'er
1993 Daniel Pe'er Danny Rup
1994 No commentator Israel did not participate
1995 Daniel Pe'er
1996 Israel did not participate
1997 No Broadcast
1998 No commentator Yigal Ravid
1999 Yoav Ginai
2002 Michal Zoharetz
2004 Merav Miller
2005 Dana Herman
2007 Jason Danino-Holt
2008 Noa Barak-Weshler
2009 Ofer Nachshon


See also


  1. ^ O'Connor, John Kennedy (2005). The Eurovision Song Contest 50 Years The Official History. London: Carlton Books Limited.  
  2. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 1978". 2005. Retrieved 8 May 2007. 
  3. ^ "Lebanon withdraws from Eurovision".  

External links

  • Points to and from Israel
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