Jerusalem was this year's host city that welcomed 19 different delegations. Turkey withdrew from the contest because it took place in Israel and many Arab countries put pressure on Turkey not to go to Jerusalem.
There were lots of familiar faces in 1979. Peter, Sue & Marc returned for Switzerland after representing the country in 1976. Anne-Marie David, the 1973 winner for Luxembourg, represented France, and Anita Skorgan sang again for Norway.
The German entry, performed by band Dschinghis Khan also went on to become a hit in several European countries, despite being heavily criticised in Germany itself. The Swiss contestants Peter, Sue & Marc had difficulties getting into the country and had to explain to customs exactly why they needed so many watering cans, hoses, bin bags and bottle openers which were needed for their unique performance on the Jerusalem stage.
The Belgian singer Micha Marah was very unhappy with her song Hey Nana as this was selected against her will in the Belgian pre-selection. She refused to record the song and it remains one of the few songs in Eurovision Song Contest that does not have a studio-version. Monaco decided to withdraw from the contest after their singer Laurent Vaguener only reached 16th place. The principality would only return again 25 years later, in 2004.
Israel won for the second time in a row with the song Hallelujah which became a Europe-wide hit. Spain was the last country to cast its votes. At that moment Spain was in the lead with 1 point ahead of Israel, but the Spanish 10 points gave Israel its second victory.