The group was formed for the purpose of performing in the contest when the song's original performers, the band Hakol Over Habibi, declined the opportunity to sing it.
This was the fourth occasion on which the host country had won the Contest (Switzerland, Spain and Luxembourg had achieved the feat before this) and there would be two more such occasions to date (Ireland winning once in Millstreet and once more in Dublin). Israel could neither host nor compete in the next Contest, which was scheduled for the same day as Yom Hazikaron - Israel's Memorial Day. (The festivities of the event would clash with the somber tone of the day, which is marked in Israel with memorial services, two minutes of silence, and large numbers of visitors at military and civilian cemeteries.)
The song is regarded as a classic of the Contest due in no small part to the unique performance, in which Atari and her backing singers entered the stage one by one, rather than all together. It was also performed at the end of the Eurovision Song Contest 1999 by all the contestants as a tribute to the victims of the wars in the Balkans. It has also become something of a modern Jewish standard, recognized by many North Americans who might never even have heard of Eurovision.
It was performed tenth on the night, following Germany's Dschinghis Khan with "Dschinghis Khan" and preceding France's Anne-Marie David with "Je suis l'enfant soleil". At the close of voting, it had received 125 points, placing 1st in a field of 19. According to author and historian John Kennedy O'Connor in his book The Eurovision Song Contest - The Official History, as Spain had been leading on the penultimate round of voting, this was the first time the winning song had come from behind to clinch victory on the final vote. Ironically, it was the Spanish jury that gifted the contest to Israel.