“I’m not your toy, you stupid boy.” Israelis sang and played their Eurovision representative’s song loud on speakers as they all ran to the streets of Tel Aviv and jumping into the public fountain as 25-year-old Netta Barzilai won the esteemed song contest. This year’s Eurovision was held in Lisbon, Portugal, home of last year’s winner.
Netta secured 529 points for Israel this year, making it one of the country’s best results in the song contest in all their years of participation. She performed the song “Toy” for the competition. Because of this win, Eurovision has once again proved that appearance does not hinder one from winning. It follows Conchita Wurst’s victory in 2014 and Dana International in 1998.
“Thank you for choosing different,” she said as she lifted her trophy. She also said she came to realize that she was different because of her size and that “different is not often accepted.”
She also emphasized that instead of competing with others, she wanted to challenge herself. “I will compete with myself until I die,” she said following her win. Her winning the competition means that Israel will be the host for next year’s Eurovision.
Not only did fans express their excitement for Netta, but also public figures. Gal Gadot, who played Wonder Woman and is also an Israeli, said that she “represented the real wonder in women.” Meanwhile Israel’s leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, also congratulated her and said she was the country’s “greatest ambassador.”
Weeks before the contest, Israel was the talk of everyone. However, when it was just days before, the spotlight suddenly turned to Cyprus’ Eleni Foureira. In the end, Eleni only scored 436 points which is a huge margin from Netta’s 529. The #MeToo campaign inspired Netta’s song, making her the first Israeli to win after Dana International, the first transgender winner, won in 1998.