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Israel Wins Eurovision Song Contest

April 2, 1979
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As millions of television viewers from Iceland to Hong Kong watched last night, Israel won for the second consecutive year the Eurovision song contest. The winning song was “Hollelujah,” sung by 26-year-old Gali Atari, who was accompanied by the Milk and Honey group.

The Israeli song, with 125 points, beat out the Spanish entry with III points and the French which received 106. This means that Israel has the right to host next year’s Eurovision contest. However, it is not clear whether Israel will do so since this year’s contest cost Israel Television about $1 million, a heavy drain on the station’s tight budget.

At a press conference at which all the participating groups from 19 countries danced together to the winning song, Atari called the program “Peace Eurovision.” “Hallelujah” has been translated into Arabic and it is hoped that a children’s choir will sing it when Israeli Premier Menachem Begin drives in Cairo tomorrow.

Security at the Binyanei Haooma, where the contest was held, was very tight. Parking was not allowed at the building’s parking lot and the audience had to walk a long distance from the lots that were used. The Eurovision award has presented by Yitzhak Livni, who at midnight last night completed his five-year term as director general of the Israel Broadcasting Authority.

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