Rooting for - and against - Israel at Eurovision

BDS wants Netta to fail - but the world has already embraced the singer who is predicted to win.

May 7, 2018 18:03
3 minute read.

I don't want to jinx anything, Eurovision Song Contest favorite Israeli's Netta Barzilai says, May 3, 2018 (Reuters)

I don't want to jinx anything, Eurovision Song Contest favorite Israeli's Netta Barzilai says, May 3, 2018 (Reuters)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


When Netta Barzilai takes the stage at the Eurovision singing competition in Lisbon on Tuesday night, most of Israel will be rooting her on.

But there are some supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement here that are hoping for the 25-year-old to come in last place at the upcoming contest.

Of course, that’s a fairly unlikely scenario considering every betting chart has Barzilai predicted to take the top prize.

In a statement last week, a group that calls itself “Zero Points to Israeli Apartheid” issued a call for voters to shut out Barzilai entirely. The group references the singer’s mandatory IDF service, which she carried out in the Israeli Navy Band.

“The naval entertainer Netta Barzilai, an accomplice to the killing of Gaza children who now presumes to entertain Europeans, should get a resounding slap in her face,” the group wrote to its just over 500 Facebook fans. “Europeans should just give her Zero Points.”

The group also incorrectly claimed that last year’s Israeli contestant, Imri Ziv, was eliminated in the semifinal round; he was not.

Indeed the same group ran a similar campaign last year against Ziv. And despite his limited singing capabilities, he sailed through the semifinal round to place 23rd overall – with 39 points, not zero.
It is no surprise that Israelis around the country have sent messages of support to the singer, who represents Israel’s best chance in more than a decade to bring the Eurovision to Jerusalem.

On Monday around 20 women from Hod Hasharon, Barzilai’s hometown, sent her a special good luck greeting. Also Monday, Kan, the Israeli public broadcaster that will air the Eurovision contest, launched a special Facebook camera filter that lets you dress up like Barzilai – signature hairdo, kimono and all. And this year, for the first time in history, Israel will air the Eurovision – both semifinals and Saturday night’s final – with live commentary.

And, to the dismay of boycott activists, Barzilai is also on the receiving end of love and approbation from around the globe. Just after her song “Toy” was released, a Ugandan dance troupe recorded a video of its choreography for the tune. The video for “Toy” is the most watched by far on the Eurovision YouTube channel – more than three times the views of the second-most watched song.

A week ago Barzilai landed a frontpage feature story on Diario de Noticias, one of the most popular daily newspapers in Portugal. On Sunday, OUTtv, a European TV channel for the LGBT community, awarded her its 2018 OUTmusic award after an online vote.

And the Israel party hosted in Lisbon this week drew thousands of Eurovision fans from around the globe.

“I have never been a favorite in my entire life; I have always been an underdog,” Barzilai said during an interview on the Eurovision opening event’s blue carpet on Sunday night. “And it’s embarrassing and it’s amazing to feel all the love and all the hugs – it’s amazing to see little girls and boys, when they write to me that I helped them love themselves... I show [them] how to break the rules, to show originality, to show thinking outside the box.”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

July 18, 2019
FaceApp: Want to know what you’ll look like in 50 years? Now you can


Cookie Settings