Netta Barzilai and the victorious Israeli delegation to the 63rd Eurovision Song Contest took the stage in Tel Aviv's main square Monday for a special and free performance in honor of her historic win at the competition with her hit song "Toy."
At a short press conference held after she landed at Ben-Gurion International Airport on the plane, Barzilai said: “This is a great moment for me, for the [Israeli] delegation and for the country. I am happy that we managed to create a reason for joy in a country that does not have a lot of reasons to celebrate.”
“We are all hoarse, we celebrated all night and we didn’t sleep,” added Barzilai. “I want to thank to all the amazing people who accompanied me throughout this past half year, they never lost hope and promised me all along the way that victory was ours. A lot of congratulations to us and all of Israel.”
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The delegations came down from the plane dancing to the music of the winning song “Toy.”
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Barzilai will perform her song on Monday evening in a performance in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv.
Barzilai won the Eurovision with 529 points, with the song from Cyprus, “Fuego,” sung by Eleni Foureira, coming in second with 436 points. Austria came in third with 342 points.
Thousands came out in Tel Aviv in Rabin Square to celebrate Saturday night after the victory, while hundreds came to celebrate in the Mahaneh Yehuda Market in Jerusalem. Lights on Tel Aviv City Hall spelled out “Toy.”
Barzilai, 25, is the fourth Israeli to win the Eurovision contest. The previous Israeli to win was Dana International in 1998 with the song “Diva.” The first Israeli winner was Yizhar Cohen in 1978 with “Abanibi.” The next year Israel won once again with “Hallelujah,” sung by Gali Atari and Milk and Honey.
The broadcast of the contest had a 35 percent rating on channel Kan 11, which translates into just over 1 million viewers – the highest rating in Israel since November 2017 when Channel 2 split into two separate broadcasters. The live Eurovision broadcasts in Israel on social networks, such as on public broadcaster Kan’s Facebook page, drew about 750,000 viewers. “Toy” has already racked up over 50 million views on the internet.