Israel's Noa Kirel advances to Eurovision final

The singer from Ra'anana will face fellow Jewish entrant Mae Muller on Saturday


LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 08: Noa Kirel, representative for Israel, performs during the first dress rehearsal for Semi Final 1 of the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 at M&S Bank Arena on May 08, 2023 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)

(JNS) Israeli pop star Noa Kirel has advanced to the Eurovision 2023 final after her semi-final performance of her song “Unicorn" in Liverpool last night.

She will compete on Saturday night to become the fifth Israeli to win the song contest since becoming the first non-European country to participate in the annual event in 1973. The last Israeli to take the top prize was Netta Barzilai in 2018 for her song “Toy.”

“There is no excitement quite like this!” Kirel said in a statement after the results were announced. “I felt like every one of you was with me. I promise to do everything — and I mean everything — to keep making the people of Israel happy in the grand final.”

Kirel co-wrote “Unicorn” alongside Doron Medalie, Yinon Yahel and May Sfadia.

Also advancing to the final: Croatia, Moldova, Switzerland, Finland, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Sweden, Serbia and Norway.

“Security is the most important thing at the moment, and I hope that the contest will hearten the citizens of Israel. My heart is with them, and I will do everything I can so that the people of Israel are proud of me,” Kirel said in a statement ahead of the contest.

Ukraine won the competition last year but was unable to host the event due to the ongoing military invasion of the country by Russian forces. Last year’s runner-up the United Kingdom is hosting on behalf of Ukraine.

In the final, Kirel will also face stiff competition from the UK's competitor Mae Muller. Muller, who has spoken of her Jewish heritage was raised in Kentish Town and has previously revealed that her grandfather fled Nazi persecution in Germany.

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