Less than 48 hours after the Grand Final in Lisbon, Israeli Eurovision 2018 winner Netta Barzilai was welcomed home by an ecstatic crowd of thousands of people at Tel Aviv's Rabin Square.
Earlier today, Netta arrived at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion Airport. Aboard her flight home from Lisbon she sang her winning song Toy over the airplane's intercom system:
At a short press conference held after she landed, Netta said, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz: "This is a great moment for me, for the delegation and for the country. I am happy that we managed to create a reason for joy in a country that does not have a lot of reasons to celebrate. We are all hoarse, we celebrated all night and we didn’t sleep."
This evening, Netta appeared in front of a 20,000 crowd at Tel Aviv's Rabin Square, where she performed her winning song twice, together with her three dancers. An excited Barzilai said to all her supporters: “Tel Aviv, I love you! Look what we did together!” while she stood next to Toy's songwriters Doron Medley and Stav Berger.
Fans draped in flags and girls with Netta’s trademark buns filled Rabin Square dancing in joy whenever the winning song of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest Toy was played before and after Barzilai’s swift appearance. In the background, the lighting illuminations of the City Hall displayed the words 'Netta' and 'Toy', and an Israeli flag celebrating the victory. “We have such a reason to be happy!” Netta concluded.
Earlier this spring Rabin Square hosted the Eurovision preparty Israel Calling, which was reportedly attended by some 10,000 people. The last time Israel had won the Eurovision Song Contest was exactly 20 years ago, in 1998, with Dana International's Diva. Toy marks their fourth victory overall in the competition since they joined it back in 1973.
Special thanks to photographer Kfir Sivan and Tali Eshkoli from the Israeli delegation.