The Israeli song that won Eurovision in 1979

by Leah Rosenberg

The Euro vision Song Contest has been around since 1956. Israel has participated in the contest since 1973. The Contest is made up of many countries, mainly from mainland Europe.

Eurovision Song Contest

This is an international song competition, many of the countries are members of the European Broadcasting Union. Each country submits an original song and it is played for on live television. Citizens of each country then have a chance to vote and choose a winner.

Winning the contest often provides a career booth for the artist. The country that wins the Contest then hosts the contest the following year. The Eurovision is one of the most watched non-sporting events.

Israel in the Contest

Israel made its debut in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1973. Israel has won the contest four times and hosted twice, Israel will be hosting again in 2019, in Tel Aviv. The song that won Israel the contest in 1979 was the song Hallelujah, by Gali Atari and Milk and Honey.

Israel declined to host the Contest in 1980, however as it conflicted with the date of Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day. Israel also did not participate that year.


The word Hallelujah is made up of two words, Hallel and Ujah, Hallel, being the Hebrew word means to praise. If said correctly Ujah is the name of God. This word is used many times throughout the prayers of the Jewish People, it is also used in Christian Prayers. It is a word frequently used to express happiness.

The group, Gali Atari and Milk and Honey were formed for the purpose of singing the song, Hallelujah at the contest in 1979. The song is regarded as a classic, many Jews and non-Jews across the world know of this song. It was also sang at the end of the Eurovision in 1999 as a tribute to the victims of the Wars in the Balkans.

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