Netanyahu to Eurovision winner: You brought honor to Israel

President Reuven Rivlin tweeted: "We're proud of you Netta. We're all waiting for you next year in Jerusalem."

May 13, 2018 02:31
2 minute read.

Israelis celebrate Netta Barzilai's victory at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest at Tel Aviv's Rabin Square, May 13, 2018 (Shoshana Kranish)

Israelis celebrate Netta Barzilai's victory at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest at Tel Aviv's Rabin Square, May 13, 2018 (Shoshana Kranish)


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Congratulations for Israel's Netta Barzilai poured in from around Israel despite the very late hour after she won the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon on Saturday night.

"Netta, you brought a lot of honor to the State of Israel," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on Facebook. "Next year in Jerusalem!"

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Barzilai, with her song "Toy," was awarded 529 points from juries and televoters around the world. Speaking to the Kan public broadcaster after her win, the singer said it proved that "you don't have to look or sound or think like a standard winner... do what you want, do what makes you feel good."

Less than an hour after Israel took the top prize for just the fourth time in history, many officials were already preparing for the competition in 2019.

President Reuven Rivlin tweeted: "We're proud of you Netta. We're all waiting for you next year in Jerusalem."

Jerusalem Minister Zeev Elkin said he was "happy that next year we will host the Eurovision participants for the competition and not just an educational trip."

Culture Minister Miri Regev said that the singer "brought a great gift to Israel, which is celebrating 70 years of independence, and to Jerusalem, which is celebrating 51 years of its unification. Next year, Eurovision will be in Israel and we will do all we can to host it in the best way and to reveal once again the beautiful face of the State of Israel."

Both Netanyahu and Regev called Barzilai by phone minutes after her victory to congratulate her while she was live on stage.

Zionist Union leader Avi Gabbay said when an "independent woman like Netta preaches to the world about accepting differences and says 'I love my country,' it's the best PR you could ask for."

Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel said Barzilai gave a "sweeping performance that brought an entire country pride and luster... What a perfect gift for Jerusalem Day."

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat congratulated Barzilai, and said the Jerusalem Municipality will work overtime to prepare for a perfect Eurovision competition in 2019.

And Zionist Union MK Shelly Yacimovich said Barzilai brought "so much honor and pride and excitement to us tonight... and it's amazing that Eurovision is coming to Israel."

As he entered a cabinet meeting on Sunday, the prime minister gestured chicken wings in honor of Netta. The singer uses the dance move in her song "Toy," which has gained fame for her use of chicken sounds. staff contributed to this report.

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