The biggest story in Israel is not the Iranian strikes targeting the Golan Heights last week, or the opening of the new U.S. Embassy on Monday, or even the Nakba Day protests planned for Tuesday.
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No, Israelis are all talking about Netta.
The 25-year-old force of nature, Netta Barzilai, won Saturday night’s Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Toy,” which she described as an anthem for the #MeToo movement. There was a lot of very enthusiastic chicken dancing (her trademark, apparently), bright colors, bizarre back-up dancers and Israelis went nuts.
“Thank you so much for choosing different,” she said when she won. “Thank you so much for accepting differences between us.”
She added: “It’s an empowerment song for everybody, for everybody who’s been struggling being themselves — struggling with their bosses, with the government, with someone stepping on them.”
The contest on Saturday, held in Portugal, was the 63rd annual edition of the singing competition. The contest this year pitted representatives from 43 countries against each other in a contest that combines judges and fan votes.
Back home, in Tel Aviv, crowds celebrated into the night.
Spontaneous celebrations of Netta’s Eurovision victory ?? in Tel
Aviv. It’s 1:30 AM and for Israelis tomorrow, Sunday is a working day. And yet- the celebration is unstoppable ???????? pic.twitter.com/7kWTNWPZBe
— Idit Rosenzweig-Abu (@iditabu) May 13, 2018
Netta graced the front pages of Israeli papers on Sunday morning.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even mimicked her now famous dance move Sunday morning.
“Netta, you’re a real darling,” the prime minister tweeted. “You have brought much respect for the state of Israel! Next year in Jerusalem!”
The last time Israel won Eurovision was 20 years ago, when Dana International picked up the top prize with Diva. The 2019 Eurovision song contest will take place in Israel.