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Israel picks its 2020 Eurovision entry, sung in four languages

‘Feker Libi,’ co-written by writer of 2018 winning entry ‘Toy,’ will be sung in English, Hebrew, Amharic and Arabic by Eden Alene, the first Ethiopian-Israeli to compete in contest

Israel picked its Eurovision entry on Tuesday, as television audiences chose “Feker Libi,” sung in four languages, over three other contending songs.

Eden Alene, the first singer of Ethiopian descent to represent Israel in the annual international extravaganza, will perform the song in the first semifinal of the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam on May 12. If it finishes among the top ten, she will sing it again in the May 16 final. (The second semifinal will be held on May 14)

“Feker Libi” (meaning “My Love” in Amharic) was co-written by Doron Medalie — who also wrote Israel’s winning 2018 entry, “Toy” — and Idan Raichel, a top-selling singer-songwriter whose Idan Raichel Project is famous for its fusion of traditional Hebrew texts, Arab and Ethiopian music.

The song features lyrics in English, Hebrew, Amharic and Arabic.

Eden Alene and her mother Zehava Varkanesh, after she was announced the winner of ‘HaKochav Haba,’ which makes her Israel’s representative to the 2020 Eurovision (Courtesy HaKochav Haba)

It won the most support from viewers and a panel of judges during Tuesday’s “The Next Song For Eurovision” television show broadcast live on Israel’s public broadcaster, Kan.

The other three songs were “Roots,” by Nathan Goshen and Stav Beger, which came in second place; “Rakata” which came third, and “Savior in the Sound” which came fourth.

During the TV show, the Shalva Band — composed entirely of musicians with disabilities — performed its rendition of Netta Barzilai’s “Toy,” which had brought last year’s contest to Israel.

Last month, the 19-year-old Alene became this year’s representative after she won the reality show “The Next Star.”

Born and raised in Jerusalem, Alene moved this year with her mother to the city of Kiryat Gat. Her parents divorced when she was four, and she has had no contact with her father since. She studied ballet for ten years before moving from a religious school to a secular one and studying theater and taking voice lessons.

She also sang for two years with the YMCA Jerusalem Youth Choir, a mixed choir of Jewish and Arab teens.

Alene, who currently is an IDF soldier, has considerable experience in the business, having won the country’s “X-Factor” reality show in 2018 when she was 17.

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