Tel Aviv to host Netta in Eurovision victory concert
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Tel Aviv to host Netta in Eurovision victory concert

Free concert in Rabin Square will also feature previous Israeli contestants in singing competition, including past winner Dana International

Hundreds of Israelis celebrate in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv after Israeli contestant Netta Barzilai won the Eurovision song contest with her song "Toy," May 12, 2018. (Flash90)
Hundreds of Israelis celebrate in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv after Israeli contestant Netta Barzilai won the Eurovision song contest with her song "Toy," May 12, 2018. (Flash90)

Netta Barzilai, Israel’s Eurovision winner, will perform a victory concert in Tel Aviv’s iconic Rabin Square on Monday night for her thousands of fans.

Police gave the go-ahead to hold the concert even though they are likely to be stretched by a series of other events, including the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

Barzilai will return to Israel early Monday morning and hold a press conference at Ben Gurion airport at 5:30 a.m. when she gets off the plane from Lisbon.

Then, in the evening she will give a free concert in Rabin Square, in the heart of Tel Aviv, along with previous Israeli Eurovision representatives, including Shiri Maimon, Orna and Moshe Datz, Gali Atari and Dana International, Israel’s most recent winner.

Doron Medalie, who wrote the winning song “Toy,” proposed holding the concert.

I’m taking my Eurovision home!!!!!!!! Thank you Europe… KAPARA ALEICHEM???????????????????? #ISRAEL

Posted by Netta Barzilai on Sunday, 13 May 2018

Israelis took to the streets and social media early Sunday to celebrate the country’s win in the Eurovision Song Contest, praising singer Barzilai as “Israel’s best ambassador” and excitedly anticipating the country’s hosting duties for next year.

In Tel Aviv, thousands of young people gathered for a celebration  in Rabin Square, a site that more often hosts political rallies.

Electronic signs in the city also changed to mark Barzilai’s victory, the first for Israel at Eurovision since 1998, following years of middling results.

Saturday night, Barzilai clucked and bucked her way through “Toy,” a catchy ditty that also addresses women’s empowerment and had been the bookmakers’ favorite to win for weeks before the contest in Portugal, last year’s winner.

Police will have a heavy workload ahead of the concert, as Monday will also see the official opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, which will require a heavy security presence in the capital and elsewhere in the country.

Additionally, the army is deploying three brigades to the Gaza border and the West Bank at the start of what Israeli security officials believe could be an extremely violent week of Palestinian protests coinciding with the embassy opening.

בוקר טוי ישראל!???????? ????

Posted by ‎Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו‎ on Sunday, 13 May 2018

Tens of thousands of Palestinians are expected to gather along the border between Gaza and Israel on Monday.  The demonstrations are part of Hamas’s weeks-long effort to galvanize Palestinians to march on the Israeli border, an effort that has led to 54 reported Palestinian deaths in clashes with Israeli forces, according to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza.

The Palestine Liberation Organization, whose office in Washington is the de facto Palestinian mission to the US, has decried the US embassy move as a “provocation to all Arabs.” The opening falls on May 14, which marks 70 years since Israel’s declaration of independence — which Palestinians call Nakba, their “day of catastrophe.”

Nakba Day is commemorated every year on May 15 but was moved forward this year to coincide with the embassy move and to avoid falling during the holy month of Ramadan.

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