May 21, 2018

Who Is Netta Barzilai, The Israeli Singer Who Won Eurovision 2018?

16 May 2018, 02:37 | Melvin Schneider

Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai branded 'real cow' by Israeli Prime Minister

Нетаниягу поздравил израильтян с праздником

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted an untranslatable Hebrew slang endearment to Barzilai and wrote "Next Year in Jerusalem" - a play on the saying declared at the end of the Passover meal and the fact the Eurovision will take place in the city next year. US President Trump has defied precedent and the State Department.

"Together we will expose the attractive face of Jerusalem to the whole world", he said.

Those are not just empty words. This year's competition took place in Libson, Portugal, and the event is hosted annually in the home country of the previous victor, meaning next year it will take place in Israel. This controversial day in the Israeli calendar marks the date that the whole of Jerusalem was brought under Israeli rule.

Barzilai's victory was the fourth for Israel, suggesting that catchy pop trumps politics in the four decades Israel has taken part. On the day of Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day), the optics of this was no accident. The previous Israeli to win was Dana International in 1998 with the song "Diva".

Hod Hasharon resident Barzilai, who studied electronic music in Israel's Rimon School of Music and performed with the Israel Navy Band for her military service, was the house singer at Tel Aviv's Bar Giyora nightclub for three years, toured Israel with an improvisation singing group she cofounded, and is a soloist with the touring group Gaberband.

This year's song contest featured singers from 43 countries competing in Lisbon, after Portugal won Eurovision in 2017 (the winning country hosts the following year's contest).

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Her experience has given her plenty of poise onstage.

Whether that upbeat, defiant message can keep politics out of next year's contest in Jerusalem is another story.

Nevertheless, the victory had her overcome with emotion. Thank you so much for choosing difference, thank you so much for accepting differences between us, [and] thank you for celebrating diversity.

As she picked up her award, Barzilai shouted to the crowd, "I love my country".

Yosi Swed, left, and Neta Keret with a chicken hat that took them hours to make, in honor of Netta Barzilai's triumphant victory concert in Tel Aviv on May 14, 2018. Announced by President Donald Trump last December, the move upended a decades-old US policy of refraining from recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's sovereign capital until peace is reached between Israelis and Palestinians. "I want to tell you that after 30 years of working for feminism, I can point to you and say, 'There, that's how you do it'".

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