Netta has won the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 with the song “Toy,” garnering 529 points and taking the trophy to Israel on the 20th anniversary of their last win.
After eight months of national selections, several weeks of promotional tours, fifteen days of rehearsals and two semi-finals, twenty-six songs competed in Lisbon, Portugal, for the title.
The last time Israel won the contest was 1998, when Dana International triumphed with her song “Diva.” They had won two other times before, in 1978 and 1979.
Israel has been leading in the odds since Netta’s song “Toy” was released, settling in the top 3 on the night of the final. It has topped the Apple music streaming charts and overwhelmingly won the OGAE vote, the INFE vote, and numerous preview shows across Europe. “Toy” has also made the top 5 in iTunes sales, YouTube views, and Spotify streams for this year’s Eurovision entries.
In the lead-up to the Grand Final, Israel has inspired tributes from a youth group in Uganda and El Al’s airline crew. Eurovision 2014 winner Conchita Wurst has called the song “so incredible” and backed it to win.
Netta was chosen to be Israel’s representative at the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 through the televised national final, HaKokhav HaBa L’Eurovizion, “The Next Star For Eurovision”.
Israel debuted in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1973, and were represented by Ilanit who finished in 4th place with the song “Ey Sham”. Their first victory came in 1978 with Izar Cohen and the Alphabeta. Israel won again the following year with Gali Atari & Milk and Honey. Israel’s most recent victory came in 1998 when Dana International performed “Diva” in Birmingham, beating Malta to victory in a tense voting sequence. Israel struggled in the contest during the early-2010s, failing to qualify for the final from 2011-2014. However since the HaKokhav HaBa selection process was introduced in 2015 they have qualified three times, with Nadav Guedj finishing in 9th in 2015, Hovi Star finishing in 14th in 2016 and Imri finishing in 23rd in 2017.