Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest

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Member stationIsraeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (Kan)
National selection events
Participation summary
Appearances42 (36 finals)
First appearance1973
Best result1st: 1978, 1979, 1998, 2018
Worst result24th SF: 2007
External links
Kan page
Israel's page at
Song contest current event.png For the most recent participation see
Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019

Israel has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 42 times since making its debut in 1973. Israel was able to enter the contest as the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) is a member organisation of the European Broadcasting Union, which is responsible for the event. Israel has won the contest four times, and has hosted the contest in Jerusalem twice in 1979 and 1999. Israel hosted the contest for the third time in Tel Aviv in 2019.

Israel's first appearance at the contest in 1973 was successful, with Ilanit finishing fourth. Israel then achieved victories in 1978 and 1979, with wins for Izhar Cohen and the Alphabeta, with the song "A-Ba-Ni-Bi", and Milk and Honey, with "Hallelujah". In 1980, the IBA declined to host the contest for the second successive year for financial reasons, and as the date for the contest in The Hague conflicted with Yom Hazikaron – Israeli Memorial Day – Israel did not participate. This is the only time that the winning country did not compete the following year. The country's best results in the 1980s were the second-place finishes for Avi Toledano in 1982 and Ofra Haza in 1983. Former winner Izhar Cohen returned to place fifth in 1985, before Duo Datz finished third in 1991. Israel achieved its third victory in 1998, with Dana International and "Diva". Eden then finished fifth in 1999. As of 2018, Israel has the record for most participations and most wins in the contest without ever coming last, but it has placed second to last in the final three times, in 1986, 1993 and 2006.

Since the introduction of the semi-finals in 2004, Israel has failed to reach the final six times. In 2005, Shiri Maimon gave the country its tenth top five result, finishing fourth. Having failed to qualify for the final for four consecutive years (2011–14), Israel reached the final for the first time in five years, with Nadav Guedj finishing ninth in 2015, and the country has participated in the final every year since. Israel's fourth victory came when Netta won the 2018 contest in Lisbon, with the song "Toy".



To date there have been four Israeli victories in the contest. Izhar Cohen and Alphabeta won in Paris in 1978 with the uptempo A-Ba-Ni-Bi. On home ground in Jerusalem the following year, Israel won again, this time with the anthemic Hallelujah performed by Milk and Honey. Unusually, Israel did not defend the title in 1980 (see below). The third victory came almost 20 years later in Birmingham in 1998. Singer Dana International took top honours with the song Diva, setting off widespread celebrations in Israel. Twenty years later, Israel earned their fourth victory at the 2018 contest in Lisbon, Portugal. The song was "Toy" by Netta Barzilai, which earned Israel their highest-ever score of 529 points.

Other performances[edit]

Israel's earliest selections were picked by the Israel Broadcasting Authority. The first singer to represent the country in 1973 was Ilanit, who finished 4th. Criticism increased after she was sent again four years later, leading to a rule that the winner of the already established Hebrew Song and Chorus Festival would also represent Israel at the contest. The Eurovision Song Contest winners of 1978 and 1979 were selected by this method. From 1981 the selection process was handled by the Kdam Eurovision with the exceptions of 1990, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002–2004, 2006–2007 and 2010 where the selections were again picked by the IBA.

After winning the contest in 1978 and 1979, the IBA was financially and logistically unable to organise the event for the second consecutive year. The organization of the festival was subsequently handed over to the Netherlands who finally agreed to stage it. Because much time had already passed, it was difficult to find a suitable date for the Song Contest. The date chosen coincided with a memorial day in Israel, and the country was forced to withdraw. This made Israel the only country to date unable to defend its title. The 1980 Hebrew Song and Chorus Festival therefore did not double as a national final that year unlike the last two years, and the winning song "Pizmon Chozer" by the band The Brothers & the Sisters was never given the chance to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest. In 1984 Israel once again refrained from participating due to the same date conflict.

Apart from its victories, Israel's entries have had a mixed reception at the contest. Avi Toledano (1982) and Ofra Haza (1983) scored well with big revivalist numbers, but the all-singing, all-dancing style became less popular later in the decade and Israel's 1986 entry, Yavo Yom by Moti Giladi & Sarai Tzuriel, came in 19th, the country's worst showing yet.

In 1987 Israel finished 8th with Shir Habatlanim by the satiric duo Lazy Bums. Due to its satiric nature, it prompted then Israeli Minister of Culture, Yitzhak Navon, to threaten to resign, if the song went on to represent Israel on the night of the contest. However, he didn't.

In 1990 Rita's sensuous ballad was not well received, but in 1991, Orna and Moshe Datz finished third, Israel's best result since 1983. Israel's third victory occurred in 1998, when Dana International won the crown with her song "Diva." Israel also had a 5th-place finish by Eden when it hosted the 1999 contest. However, Ping-Pong's disco effort in 2000 failed badly, though the group was noted for their largely optimistic lyrics and message of reconciliation and peace in Western Asia. They went as far as waving Syrian flags at the end of their performance, angering some Israelis.

In 2004 David D'Or came in 11th in the semifinal with the song "Leha'amin" (להאמין), leaving Israel out of the finals for the first time since 1997. Shiri Maymon's performance in Kiev in 2005 brought Israel back to the top five, and ensured a place in the Athens 2006 final. In 2006, Israel was represented by singer Eddie Butler, who had finished 5th as part of Eden in 1999; however, his performance of the song "Together We Are One" finished 23rd, with just four points.

IBA's Eurovision committee chose the band Teapacks to represent Israel in the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest Semi-Final in Helsinki. Their humorous entry "Push the Button" did not fare well, finishing in 24th place out of a semifinal field of 28 and failing to reach the final. Israel had to compete in the semi-final in Belgrade 2008, from which it passed on to the final; Boaz finished ninth. At the Eurovision Song Contest 2009, an Arab citizen of Israel represented the country for the first time, as Mira Awad performed along with Jewish-Israeli singer Noa in Moscow. Israel was represented in 2010 by Harel Skaat, who came in 14th in the final.

Israel's participations from 2011 to 2014 were less successful, as former Eurovision winner Dana International in Düsseldorf, the band Izabo in Baku, Moran Mazor in Malmö and Mei Finegold in Copenhagen, all failed to qualify for the final. However, 16-year-old Nadav Guedj qualified with Golden Boy in 2015, the first Israeli song without a Hebrew lyric. Prior to their fourth win, they also managed to qualify in 2016 with Hovi Star and "Made of Stars" (which finished 14th) and in 2017 with Imri Ziv and "I Feel Alive" (which finished 23rd, Israel's lowest score in a Eurovision final since 2006). In 2019 as host country Israel was pre-qualified for the final, however, they eventually finished 23rd, Israel's lowest score in a Eurovision final since 2017), making it the fourth time since 2015 that the host country ranked in the bottom five.


Table key
Second place
Third place
Last place
Year Artist Language Title Final Points Semi Points
1973 Ilanit Hebrew "Ey Sham" (אי שם) 4 97 No semi-finals
1974 Kaveret Hebrew "Natati La Khayay" (נתתי לה חיי) 7 11
1975 Shlomo Artzi Hebrew "At Va'Ani" (את ואני) 11 40
1976 Chocolate, Menta, Mastik Hebrew "Emor Shalom" (אמור שלום) 6 77
1977 Ilanit Hebrew "Ahava Hi Shir Lishnayim" (אהבה היא שיר לשניים) 11 49
1978 Izhar Cohen and the Alphabeta Hebrew "A-Ba-Ni-Bi" (א-ב-ני-בי) 1 157
1979 Milk and Honey Hebrew "Hallelujah" (הללויה) 1 125
1980 Did not participate
1981 Hakol Over Habibi Hebrew "Halayla" (הלילה) 7 56 No semi-finals
1982 Avi Toledano Hebrew "Hora" (הורה) 2 100
1983 Ofra Haza Hebrew "Hi" (חי) 2 136
1984 Did not participate
1985 Izhar Cohen Hebrew "Olé, Olé" (עולה, עולה) 5 93 No semi-finals
1986 Moti Giladi & Sarai Tzuriel Hebrew "Yavo Yom" (יבוא יום) 19 7
1987 Lazy Bums Hebrew "Shir Habatlanim" (שיר הבטלנים) 8 73
1988 Yardena Arazi Hebrew "Ben Adam" (בן אדם) 7 85
1989 Gili & Galit Hebrew "Derekh Hamelekh" (דרך המלך) 12 50
1990 Rita Hebrew "Shara Barkhovot" (שרה ברחובות) 18 16
1991 Duo Datz Hebrew "Kan" (כאן) 3 139
1992 Dafna Dekel Hebrew "Ze Rak Sport" (זה רק ספורט) 6 85
1993 Sarah'le Sharon & The Shiru Group Hebrew, English "Shiru" (שירו) 24 4
1994 Did not participate
1995 Liora Hebrew "Amen" (אמן) 8 81 No semi-finals
1996a Galit Bell Hebrew "Shalom Olam" (שלום עולם) Failed to qualify 28 12
1997 Did not participate
1998 Dana International Hebrew "Diva" (דיווה) 1 172c No semi-finals
1999 Eden Hebrew, English "Yom Huledet (Happy Birthday)" (יום הולדת) 5 93
2000 PingPong Hebrew "Sameach" (שמח) 22 7
2001 Tal Sondak Hebrew "En Davar" (אין דבר) 16 25
2002 Sarit Hadad Hebrew, English "Light a Candle" 12 37
2003 Lior Narkis Hebrew, English "Words for Love" 19 17
2004 David D'Or Hebrew, English "Leha'amin" (להאמין) Failed to qualify 11 57
2005 Shiri Maimon English, Hebrew "HaSheket SheNish'ar" (השקט שנשאר) 4 154 7 158
2006 Eddie Butler English, Hebrew "Together We Are One" 23 4 Top 11 Previous Year[a]
2007 Teapacks English, French, Hebrew "Push the Button" Failed to qualify 24 17
2008 Bo'az Ma'uda Hebrew, English "The Fire In Your Eyes" 9 124 5 104
2009 Noa & Mira Awad English, Hebrew, Arabic "There Must Be Another Way" 16 53 7 75
2010 Harel Skaat Hebrew "Milim" (מילים) 14 71 8 71
2011 Dana International Hebrew, English "Ding Dong" (דינג דונג) Failed to qualify 15 38
2012 Izabo English, Hebrew "Time" 13 33
2013 Moran Mazor Hebrew "Rak bishvilo" (רק בשבילו) 14 40
2014 Mei Finegold English, Hebrew "Same Heart" 14 19
2015 Nadav Guedj English "Golden Boy" 9 97 3 151
2016 Hovi Star English "Made of Stars" 14 135 7 147
2017 IMRI English "I Feel Alive" 23 39 3 207
2018 Netta English "Toy" 1 529 1 283
2019 Kobi Marimi English "Home" 23 35 Host country[b]
a. ^ In 1996 Israel failed to qualify for the contest. There was an audio only pre-qualification round for all countries (excluding hosts Norway). The official Eurovision site does not count 1996 in Israel's list of appearances.
b. If a country had won the previous year, they did not have to compete in the semi-finals the following year. In addition from 2004-2007, the top ten placed countries who were not one of the "Big Four" did not have to compete in the semi-finals the following year. If, for example, Germany and France placed inside the top ten, the countries who placed 11th and 12th were advanced to the following year's grand final along with the rest of the top ten countries.
c. ^ Spain originally gave its 12 points to Israel and 10 to Norway. After the broadcast it was announced that Spanish broadcaster wrongly tallied the votes and Germany should have got the top mark - 12 points - instead of being snubbed, as it happened. The mistake was corrected and so Germany was placed 7th over Norway. Israel and Norway both received 2 points less than originally and Croatia, Malta, Portugal, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Belgium, Estonia and Turkey all received one point less than indicated during the broadcast.


  • Nurit Hirsh (1973, 1978)
  • Yonatan Rechter (1974)
  • Eldad Shrem (1975, 1977, 1981, 1988)
  • Matti Caspi (1976)
  • Izhak Graziani (musical director in 1979, but did not conduct any entry)
  • Kobi Oshrat (1979, 1985, 1987, 1991–92)
  • Silvio Nansi Brandes (1982–83)
  • Yoram Zadok (1986)
  • Shaike Paikov (1989)
  • Rami Levin (1990)
  • Amir Frohlich (1993)
  • Gadi Goldman (1995)
  • Prior to 1999, the Israeli entry was performed without orchestral accompaniment in 1998.[1]


Year Location Venue Presenters
1979 Jerusalem International Convention Center Yardena Arazi and Daniel Pe'er
1999 Dafna Dekel, Sigal Shachmon and Yigal Ravid
2019 Tel Aviv Tel Aviv Convention Center Erez Tal, Bar Refaeli, Assi Azar and Lucy Ayoub

Other awards[edit]

Marcel Bezençon Awards[edit]

Press Award

Year Song Performer Final Result Points Host city
2010 "Milim" (מילים) Harel Skaat 14th 71 Oslo

Artistic Award (Voted by commentators)

Year Performer Song Final Result Points Host city
2010 Harel Skaat "Milim" (מילים) 14th 71 Oslo

Composer Award

Year Song Composer(s)
Lyrics (l) / Music (m)
Performer Final
Points Host city
2010 "Milim" (מילים) Tomer Hadadi (m) and Noam Horev (l) Harel Skaat 14th 71 Oslo

OGAE Eurovision Song Contest Poll[edit]

Year Song Performer Final Result Points Host city
2018 "Toy" Netta 1st 529 Lisbon

Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest[edit]

Table key
  Second place
  Third place
  Last place
Year Artist Language Title Final Points Semi Points Place (1998) Points (1998)
1998 Dana International Hebrew "Diva (דיווה)" Failed to qualify 13 39 1 172

Commentators and spokespersons[edit]

Year(s) Commentator Spokesperson Spokesperson Background
1973 No commentator N/A Spokesperson did not present visually until 1994
1974 Yitzhak Shim'oni
1979 Yoram Arbel Dan Kaner
1980 No Broadcast Israel did not participate
1981 No commentator Dan Kaner
1982 Yitzhak Shim'oni
1984 Israel did not participate
1985 Yitzhak Shim'oni
1992 Daniel Pe'er
1993 Daniel Pe'er Danny Rup
1994 No commentator Israel did not participate Israel did not participate
1995 Daniel Pe'er Jerusalem Skyline
1996 Israel did not participate Israel did not participate
1997 No Broadcast
1998 No commentator Yigal Ravid IBA Studios, Jerusalem
1999 Yoav Ginai
2000 Walls of Jerusalem, Jerusalem
2001 A street in Jerusalem
2002 Michal Zoharetz Jerusalem Skyline
2003 Generali Building, Jerusalem
2004 Merav Miller Walls of Jerusalem, Jerusalem
2005 Dana Herman
2007 Jason Danino-Holt Generali Building, Jerusalem
2008 Noa Barak-Weshler
2009 Ofer Nachshon
2010 A street in Jerusalem
2011 Jerusalem Skyline
2012 Walls of Jerusalem, Jerusalem
2013 Jerusalem Skyline
2014 Walls of Jerusalem, Jerusalem
2015 Knesset, Jerusalem
2016 Jerusalem Skyline
2018 Asaf Liberman and Shir Reuven (first semi-final)
Itai Herman and Goel Pinto (second semi-final)
Erez Tal[2] and Idit Hershkowitz (final)
Lucy Ayoub Walls of Jerusalem, Jerusalem
2019 Sharon Taicher and Eran Zarachowicz Izhar Cohen Expo Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv


Arab reaction to Israeli participation[edit]

In 1978, during the performance of the Israeli entry, the Jordanian broadcaster JRTV suspended the broadcast, and instead showed pictures of flowers. When it became apparent during the later stages of the voting sequence that Israel was going to win the contest, JRTV abruptly ended the transmission.[3] Afterwards, the Jordanian news media refused to acknowledge the fact that Israel had won, and announced that the winner was Belgium (which had actually come in second).[4] By coincidence, Israel did not broadcast the victory either, as the IBA did not buy enough broadcasting time.[citation needed] The victory was broadcast the next day.

At the time, Israeli Television was in its infancy and broadcasting in black & white. Many/most Israelis therefore watched international events in colour, using the signal from neighbouring Jordan. As Jordan did not broadcast the Israeli entry and the IBA did not broadcast the results part of the event, the win only became known as a result of radio broadcasts.

Because of Israel's participation in the Eurovision Song Contest, many Arab states that are eligible to participate do not do so. Tunisia, Morocco, and Lebanon are cases in point.[citation needed] Tunisia was about to participate in 1977, but decided not to do so in the end; Lebanon was just about to participate in 2005 when it withdrew (incurring a fine by the EBU) because Lebanese law does not allow recognition of Israel, and consequently Lebanese television would not transmit any Israeli material – which would have been a violation of the EBU's rules.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ According to the then-Eurovision rules, the top ten non-Big Four countries from the previous year along with the Big Four automatically qualified for the Grand Final without having to compete in semi-finals. For example, if Germany and France placed inside the top ten, the 11th and 12th spots were advanced to next year's Grand Final along with all countries ranked in the top ten.
  2. ^ The host country did not have to compete in the semi-finals.


  1. ^ "And the conductor is...-...a website dedicated to all conductors of the Eurovision Song Contest".
  2. ^ @kann (23 April 2018). "יש לנו ציוץ דוז פואה" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  3. ^ O'Connor, John Kennedy (2005). The Eurovision Song Contest 50 Years The Official History. London: Carlton Books Limited. ISBN 1-84442-586-X.
  4. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 1978". 2005. Retrieved 8 May 2007.
  5. ^ "Lebanon withdraws from Eurovision". BBC News. 18 March 2005. Retrieved 15 July 2006.

External links[edit]