Who is Noa Kirel? And why is Israel in Eurovision 2023? Here’s what you need to know

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Israel will be represented by Noa Kirel for the 2023 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, which will be in the UK for the first time in 25 years. 

The country will mark the 50th anniversary of its first appearance in the Eurovision Song Contest, having first appeared at the event in 1973. 

Kirel will perform the song ‘Unicorn’, which features lyrics in both English and Hebrew. 

So, who is Noa Kirel? Why is Israel allowed to compete in Eurovision even though it is outside Europe? Has Israel ever won the contest?

Read on below for all you need to know Israel’s 2023 entry for the Eurovision Song Contest. 

Noa Kirel (pictured) is Israel's representative for the 2023 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. She will perform the song 'Unicorn'

Noa Kirel (pictured) is Israel’s representative for the 2023 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. She will perform the song ‘Unicorn’

Kirel first found success in 2015, after her song 'Medabrim?' was warmly received when it was posted on YouTube

Kirel first found success in 2015, after her song ‘Medabrim?’ was warmly received when it was posted on YouTube

Kirel can be seen here performing at rehearsals for the 2023 contest, the first to be held in England since 1998

Kirel can be seen here performing at rehearsals for the 2023 contest, the first to be held in England since 1998

Who is Noa Kirel?

Born Noya Kirel on 10 April 2001, she was diagnosed with a severe kidney illness at just two months old. 

A rabbi suggested that her name could be changed to Noa – which also means ‘movement’ in Hebrew – and jokingly made a prediction that she would become a dancer. 

Kirel first found success in 2015, after her song ‘Medabrim?’ was warmly received when it was posted on YouTube. Following initial success, she received a follow-up track entitled ‘Killer’. 

She also received a credit in the Israeli version of the 2016 animated comedy ‘Trolls’, voicing the character of DJ Suki. 

The singer, who is of Ashkenazi Jewish, Sephardi Jewish and Mizrawi Jewish descent, released a song in memory of the Holocaust in 2019 called ‘Ima Sheli’.  

Kirel would go on to secure her first international recording contract in 2020, signing with American label Atlantic records. 

She was confirmed as Israel’s 2023 Eurovision representative in July 2022. The song Kirel will perform at Eurovision, ‘Unicorn’, was released in March 2023, which the Israeli singer co-wrote and co-composed. 

Why is Israel in Eurovision?

Although Israel is not located on the continent of Europe, the country is allowed to compete in the competition due to a technical broadcasting regulation.  

Countries are allowed to compete at the event if they are represented by a national broadcaster which is part of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which Israel has been part of since 1957.

The country’s national broadcaster, the Israel Broadcasting Authority, was a member of the EBU from 1957 until 2017. 

The IBA was subsequently replaced as Israel’s public broadcaster by the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (IPBC). Due to the fact that the IPBC is currently a member of the EBU, Israel is still allowed to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest. 

Indeed, Israel is not the only country from outside of Europe to compete in the annual song contest, as Australia, Cyprus and Armenia will also take part in the 2023 edition.  

Kirel, seen here at the opening ceremony for the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest, will aim to become Israel's fifth winner in the competition

Kirel, seen here at the opening ceremony for the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest, will aim to become Israel’s fifth winner in the competition

Dana International celebrates her victory at the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest, which she won following the performance of 'Diva'

Dana International celebrates her victory at the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest, which she won following the performance of ‘Diva’

Israel was last victorious at Eurovision in 2018. The nation was represented that year by Netta, who sung 'Toy'

Israel was last victorious at Eurovision in 2018. The nation was represented that year by Netta, who sung ‘Toy’

Has Israel won Eurovision?

Israel has won Eurovision an impressive four times since first appearing at the event in 1973. 

Israel’s first victory came in just their sixth Eurovision appearance, when Izhar Cohen and the Alphabeta’s Hebrew-language song ‘A-Ba-Ni-Bi’ took home first prize. 

Israel also holds the distinction of being one of only four countries to win consecutive Eurovision titles, which it achieved in 1979 thanks to Milk and Honey’s track ‘Hallelujah’.  

The country’s most recent victory came in 2018, when Netta took home the prestigious trophy with her track ‘Toy’. This ended a wait of two decades for a Eurovision win, which had previously come in 1998, coortesy of the song ‘Diva’, which was performed by Dana International. 



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