Dana International to appear in Eurovision 60th anniversary show

Israeli diva, who won song contest in 1998, to participate in TV special Saturday marking six decades of celebrated annual competition.

April 9, 2015 03:44
2 minute read.
Dana International

Dana International. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Dana International, who did Israel proud in 1998 when she won the European Song contest with the song Diva composed by Tzvika Pik to lyrics by Yoav Ginai, will be singing it again on a Eurovision special marking the contest’s 60th anniversary to be screened on Channel 1, Yes in HD and Hot at 10 p.m. on Saturday night, April 11.

When she was initially selected to represent Israel, there were strenuous objections from religious quarters because she is transgender, born Yaron Cohen, but now Sharon Cohen. However, the Israel Broadcasting Authority ignored the protests and the rest is history, including her extravagant feathered gown designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier.

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Her triumph was not ephemeral as is sometimes the case with winners of song contests.

In fact the win, or rather the song, was her springboard to international acclaim. She was the third Israeli to win the Eurovision Song contest, preceded in 1979 by Gali Atari and the Milk and Honey ensemble singing Hallelujah and in 1978 by Izhar Cohen, who sang A-Ba-Ni-Bi. Coincidentally, all three Israeli winners are of Yemenite background.

Dana International is one of several Eurovision singers whose songs became global hits.

The others appearing on the anniversary show come from Luxembourg, England, Ireland, Germany, Norway, Denmark, France, Spain, Finland, Russia, Sweden and Austria.

The actual 60th Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Austria, the home country of 2014 winner Conchita Wurst, with the song Rise Like A Phoenix.

Due to the 33 countries represented, there will be two semifinals taking place on May 10 and 21, and a grand finale on May 23. Nadav Guedj will represent Israel singing Golden Boy, written by Doron Madali.

This will be Israel’s 38th appearance at the Eurovision, though it was uncertain whether Israel would compete this year due to the dismantling of the Israel Broadcasting Authority. However, the IBA had submitted its application before legislation was passed for the liquidation of the IBA.

Israel’s current participation is a collaborative effort by the IBA, the Keshet Media Group, and Tedy Productions.

The IBA was to have been replaced last month by another broadcasting entity, but like most timetables in Israel, the liquidation and replacement process did not work to schedule.

A petition last month by 70 IBA employees to have the legislation for the liquidation rescinded was rejected by the High Court of Justice, but the legislation could be revoked by the 20th Knesset.

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