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May 13, 2018 1:05 pm

Netanyahu Begins Cabinet Meeting With Chicken Dance, Congratulates Israeli Singer on Eurovision Win

avatar by Shiryn Solny

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Israeli fans celebrate at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, after Netta Barzilai won the Grand Final of Eurovision Song Contest, May 13, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Corinna Kern.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began his weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday by acknowledging Israeli singer Netta Barzilai’s win a day earlier in the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, an international singing competition.

Barzilai, 25, won with her song “Toy,” an upbeat tempo about female independence that is accompanied by beatboxing, chicken noises by Barzilai and her signature chicken dance. Netanyahu payed tribute to the singer by stopping and doing a chicken dance before walking into the cabinet meeting, held in Jerusalem, and in his opening remarks he talked about Barzilai’s exciting win.

“Good TOY morning,” he joked. “A very good morning. These days Jerusalem is being blessed with many gifts. We received another one last night with Netta’s thrilling and suspenseful victory. The gift is that Eurovision will come to Jerusalem next year; we will be very proud to host it.”

Netanyahu also called Barzilai after her win was announced and congratulated her in Hebrew. He told Barzilai she “charmed the whole world,” that she was Israel’s greatest ambassador and how he was cheering her on while watching the competition with his whole family.

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In her acceptance speech, Barzilai said, “I’m so happy. Thank you so much for choosing difference, thank you so much for accepting differences between us, [and] thank you for celebrating diversity. Thank you, I love my country!”

Others who congratulated Barzilai on her win included Labor party MK Merav Michaeli, who said Barzilai’s victory was a win for feminism. She wrote in a statement released early Sunday, “This morning I want to thank you, the amazing Netta Barzilai. Not only thanks for a wonderful song and amazing performance and incredible victory, and for bringing the Eurovision to Jerusalem next year — but for who you are. I want to tell you that after 30 years of working for feminism, I can point to you and say, ‘There, that’s how you do it.’”

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said Barzilai’s victory “set our hearts overflowing, and brought national pride to us all. Congratulations!”

Israeli politicians were not the only ones celebrating Barzilai and her win. Israeli actress and “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot wrote on Instagram about the singer, “You represent the real wonder in women. So much Truth, confidence and talent. You stand for diversity and you bring fresh beautiful light to the world.”

Barzilai’s win in the Eurovision contest was Israel’s first victory since 1998. This year’s competition took place in Libson, Portugal, and the event is hosted annually in the home country of the previous winner, meaning next year it will take place in Israel.

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