land milk honey

Hallelujah (Gali Atari and Milk & Honey song)

"Hallelujah" (Hebrew script: הללויה) was the winning song of the Eurovision Song Contest 1979, performed in Hebrew by Gali Atari and Milk & Honey for Israel.

The group was created especially for the contest after the song's original performers, the band Hakol Over Habibi, declined the opportunity to sing it.

This was the fourth occasion on which the host country had won the Contest (Switzerland, Spain and Luxembourg had achieved the feat before this) and there would be two more such occasions to date (Ireland winning twice in Dublin). Unusually, Israel would neither host nor compete in the next Contest, due to its scheduling coinciding with Yom Hazikaron.

The song is a slow-building ballad, with the group praising God for the world and all the good things in it. This is, to date, the most religiously-themed song to win the Contest.

The song is regarded as a classic of the Contest due in no small part to the unique performance, in which Atari and her backing singers entered the stage one by one, rather than all together. It was also performed at the end of the Eurovision Song Contest 1999 by all the contestants as a tribute to the victims of the wars in the Balkans. It has also become something of a modern Jewish standard, recognized by many North Americans who might never even have heard of Eurovision.

It was performed tenth on the night (following Germany's Dschinghis Khan with Dschinghis Khan and preceding France's Anne-Marie David with Je Suis L'Enfant-Soleil). At the close of voting, it had received 125 points, placing 1st in a field of 19. According to author and historian John Kennedy O'Connor in his book The Eurovision Song Contest - The Official History, as Spain had been leading on the penultimate round of voting, this was the first time the winning song had come from behind to clinch victory on the final vote. Ironically, it was the Spanish jury that gifted the contest to Israel.

The song was succeeded as Contest winner in 1980 by Johnny Logan singing "What's Another Year" for Ireland.

As explained above, Israel did not enter the 1980 Contest, which would have been held in that country had they entered (it was in fact held in The Hague). Israel returned to the fold for the 1981 Contest, where this song was succeeded as Israeli representative by Hakol Over Habibi with "Halayla".


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