Israel joined the Eurovision back in 1973 and it is rumored Ilanit sung with a buller proof vest under her dress. However, Israel was one of the most succesful countries until the 2000's. Three victories (1978, 1979 and 1998) and 2nd places in 1982 and 1983 top the 17 Top-10 places in total out of 30 entries. Recently they have struggled and Shiri Maimon's 4th place in 2005 is the only placement worth mentioning. Like this year's Boaz also Shiri comes from Pop Idol and had a ballad... After last year's rather disastrous entry Israel is back on track. And once again they send a singer with Yemenite roots, just like their previous winners Izhar Cohen and Dana International plus late Ofra Haza, who didn't win, unfortunately being the runner up in 1983, but later became world famous. The entry is well underrated in all polls, if you ask me, and I hope they will prove the fans wrong and qualify for the final. One of the best songs this year by far! Boaz Mauda is only 20 years old and fresh winner of the latest edition of Israeli Pop Idol. He started singing since he was 5 and has amazed people with his voice singing jewish prayers in synagoges and continued doing so in a larger scale in Pop Idol gaining more popularity every week and winning the final with over 50% of the votes. He sung all songs in the Israeli national final for Eurovision chosen from about 450 songs sent in, and people televoted Ke'ilo kan (As if here), that later transformed into The fire in your eyes for Belgrade, that he later admitted was also his personal favourite.The song is written by Dana International, the winner of 1998 Eurovision. She must have created the most pre-contest interest ever until Lordi came along. Thinking back it was indeed a brave move from IBA and paid off when she won for Israel despite all protests and false notes. Since then she has continued being in the front line, making a few albums and scoring a hit or two. Now she impresses as songwriter penning one of the most beautiful melodies in this year's contest that Boaz's amazing voice fits like a glove.
See Boaz interview here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6W2zXLSb0Bs and the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jL9JM3NUzlg