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After a thriller voting, Netta from Israel has won the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest with the song ‘Toy’, written and composed by Doron Medalie and Stav Beger.

Israel won the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest with 529 points, followed closely by Cyprus with 436 points. Both were top favourites to take the trophy home. Austria’s success — a third place with 342 points — came as a surprise. The final voting was a thriller in itself as it was indicating that Cyprus and Israel were close for the final victory. 

The win set off large street celebrations in Tel Aviv. It means Israel will host next year’s Eurovision competition, an event expected to bring thousands of fans and worldwide exposure to the Jewish state.

During her much-anticipated performance, Netta was joined by her pink-haired backing singers and dancers as they do their trademark chicken moves. Also accompanying her on stage are two blocks of shelves filled with 112 Maneki-nekos, the popular Asian beckoning cats often used as lucky charms.

Returning to the stage after the win, a jubilant Barzilai paid homage to the song’s themes of female empowerment and her own success despite her not matching western society’s conventional beauty ideals. “I’m not your toy. You stupid boy. I’ll take you down now,” run the lyrics of her winning song. “I’m so happy. Thank you so much for choosing difference. Thank you so much for accepting differences between us. Thank you for celebrating diversity. Thank you. I love my country. Next time in Jerusalem,” Barzilai told the watching world.

Interviewed on Israel Kan TV, the state broadcaster, she said she looked forward to the world seeing “the Israeli carnival” when Jerusalem hosts the contest next year. People will see “how wonderful we are. What a vibe we have. Best people… the best place in the world.”

“Be good to others. And be good to yourselves,” she added.

 

Speaking to Barzilai by phone minutes after her victory, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Barzilai,” You are wonderful. You are lovely… You are the best ambassador for Israel.”

“Kapara alayich” — he said, using a phrase she uses, roughly meaning Bless You.

“We’re proud of you. We are waiting for everyone next year in Jerusalem,” President Reuven Rivlin wrote on Twitter.

For months, Barzilai had been the bookmakers’ favorite to win Eurovision this year.

Thousands of people from all over the world enjoyed three spectacular live shows at Lisbon’s Altice Arena this week, with an expected 200 million viewers tuning in on television. It was the very first time Portugal hosted the contest.

Israel also won the second Semi-Final with a grand total of 283 points.

Sources : Eurovision, The Times of Israel