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33 years ago today - Izhar Cohen & Alphabeta seal Israel's maiden win

22 April 2011 at 02:03 CEST
Izhar Cohen and The Alphabeta

After Marie Myriam's victory for France in 1977 with L'Oiseau Et L'Enfant, Paris was the host city in 1978 on 22nd April. The Palais des Congrès was the venue, and the hosts were Denise Fabre & Léon Zitrone. 

There were 20 competing countries in 1978, and for the second year in a row Ireland opened the competition.

1978 Facts & Figures

  • Israel received five consecutive maximum 12 points during the voting, still a Eurovision Song Contest record.
  • Israel's Head of Delegation, Rivka Michaeli, admitted though that they hadn't been satisfied with Cohen's song. Michaeli said it was only because all the other entries were "so absolutely awful" that Cohen had won the national heats. Izhar Cohen on the other hand was rumoured to always be very confident of winning in Paris.
  • Denmark returned to the contest for the first time since 1966 but the band Mabel could only manage 16th place with Boom Boom.
  • Norway's Jahn Teigen scored the dreaded nul points but went on to become a superstar in his home country as a result of it!.
  • A future Eurovision Song Contest winner, Cheryl Baker of Bucks Fizz fame was part of Coco who gave the United Kingdom their worst result to date, finishing in 11th place with The Bad Old Days.
  • When it was obvious that Israel would win, the broadcasting company of Jordan stopped the live broadcast claiming they had technical difficulties. A day later they presented the song from Belgium - which came second, as the winning song!

Izhar returns again in 1985

Upon returning to Tel Aviv in 1978 after the victory, Izhar Cohen was greeted by huge crowds who carried him on their shoulders in celebration. 

Izhar had been a popular singer and actor in Israel for a number of years and went on to enjoy a high level of domestic success after his win in Paris. A-Ba-Ni-Bi did enjoy some chart success in the United Kingdom and Sweden to name a couple of countries.

Not content with one victory, Izhar Cohen returned to the Israeli national selction in 1985, and won the ticket to represent Israel in Gothenburg with Olé Olé. He finished in a very respectable fifth place. He would try again in both 1987 and 1996 unsuccessfully to represent Israel again.

For full statistics, singers, songtitles and scoreboard, check out our 1978 history page here on