What a way for Israel to start a week in which we celebrate reunited Jerusalem and the opening of the US Embassy in our Capital… writes Michael Kuttner.

Thousands if not millions of Israelis were either glued to their television, smart phones, tablets, computers or else were thronging Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem and no doubt countless other public places up and down the country Saturday evening. The attraction of course was the final of the annual Eurovision song contest being held in Lisbon, Portugal.

The last time Israel had won this competition was in 1998. A combination of mediocre entries plus no doubt political shenanigans contributed to this drought and many observers although enthusiastic about this year’s effort were suspicious that traditional European bias would once again put paid to any meaningful vote for Israel’s song.

In addition BDS activists for whom Israel is anathema worked overtime and tirelessly to ensure that the result would not be a win for the Jewish State.

However the Lord works in wondrous ways.

A zany and “out of the box” presentation by larger than life Netta Barzilai [pictured above], obviously wowed the voters. Her frenetic and talented performance plus her enthusiastic personality carried the day and much to the amazement of the skeptics she pulled it off.

As the results of the voting were announced at 1.30am Israel time the country erupted in a frenzy of joy. The fact that Sunday is a normal working day did not deter all those celebrating until the small wee hours. Congratulations poured in from the President and Prime Minister and ordinary citizens alike. Jerusalem’s Mayor is already planning next year’s contest in the Capital.

It will be interesting indeed to see how those countries which refuse to acknowledge Jerusalem’s status manage to swallow their prejudices and take part in Eurovision 2019. Likewise BDS proponents must be seething at their impotence.

Meanwhile it’s full speed ahead for a week of unrestrained joy and rejoicing made even more sweeter by Netta’s superb performance. She achieved in one evening what diplomats and politicians cannot achieve in months or years.

Kol Hakavod and Mazaltov to all concerned.

Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel. 

[This article was originally published on J-Wire and is reproduced here with permission from Michael Kuttner.]

Read more about Netta Barzilai and her Eurovision win here.

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