National Honor: Israel won fifth place in the Eurovision Song Contest

Golan and Herzog. Wikipedia, Haim Zach

After a long saga of many months that mixed music, politics, anti-Semitism and anger, Israel’s Eurovision journey came to a highly respectable end, and above all expectations – with the fifth place. This is another result that represents Israel as one of the most successful countries in the history of the competition, with a tendency for great results – four wins throughout history (last time in 2018), and countless endings in the top ten (including third place last year).

The successful performance was brought by 20-year-old Eden Golan, from Kfar Saba, who gave her heart and soul on stage, and by overcoming many harsh “boos” managed to write a performance that would be remembered in the Pantheon, with her successful song “Hurricane.” The song is about dealing with challenges, and Israelis will be able to interpret us as intertwined with current events (although it is, of course, forbidden to engage in political or current events in the song – and for this our country was almost disqualified from participation in February). Golan, the daughter of parents who immigrated from the Soviet Union and who lived in Russia for most of her life, symbolizes Israeliness – courage, youth, the ingathering of exiles, facing challenges and many haters, while maintaining self-respect and authenticity. She was the best choice to represent Israel in this complex year.

The final score in the competition is divided into two – the judges’ score, given by a small group of judges on behalf of each country, and the general audience score, given by the viewers at home to all countries. Golan received 52 points from the judges and finished 12th (out of 25), while Switzerland (represented by non-Binary Nemo) finished first with 365; but in the audience score, Golan won 323 points, second only to Croatia (represented by Baby Lasagna, with a bouncy and successful song). In the final ranking, this was not enough to bypass Switzerland, which finished first, and Croatia finishing second (with France and Ukraine in 3-4); but this indicates two things – first of all, that the judges’ ranking was disproportionately low, which probably stemmed from anti-Israel sentiment or a desire to avoid political touches. And secondly, Israel had many fans among the wider European public, and it was a platform for them to make their voices heard.

Next year, the competition will probably take place in Switzerland, the new winner – and there is a long time to see who Israel will choose for this competition. Let us hope that by then the war will be over successfully, anger will pass, and Israel will participate in the competition not “despite” but “because.” In the meantime, we need to look at the next international forum that is waiting beyond the tour – the Olympics.

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