Israel erupted in joy on Sunday after 25-year-old Netta Barzilai (pictured), a former singer in the Israeli Navy band, won the 63rd Eurovision song contest for her K-pop-inspired ‘Toy’. Dressed in a kimono, she delivered a message that fit the Eurovision theme of diversity. Before a repeat performance of her winning song, she thanked the audience for celebrating this diversity. Sports and Culture Minister Miri Regev wrote on Facebook that Netta “brought a huge honour to the state of Israel.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called her “Israel’s best ambassador”. Netta overcame challenge from 25 other contestants to render ‘Toy’ whose lyrics reflect the #MeToo movement with the choral refrain, “I’m not your toy, you stupid boy.” This is Israel’s fourth win in the contest. Previously, it had won in 1978, 1979 and 1998. This time, the event was held in cash-strapped Portugual’s capital Lisbon after Salvador Sobral won the contest for his country with a solo ballad. Sobral, who had a heart transplant last December, sang his last year’s winning song with 75-year-old Brazilian superstar Caetano Veloso. This time, there were no walls of LED screens, bizarre costumes or high-tech stage. Cyprus’ Eleni Foureira came in second place while Austria’s Cesar Sampson stood third. There was an unpleasant situation during the contest when a man jumped on stage and snatched the microphone from British singer SuRie as she was performing. Next year, the contest will be held in Jerusalem, thanks to Netta.
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