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Butler goes to Eurovision

by: Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2006-03-16

Eddie Butler

Eddie Butler

Singer Eddie Butler has been chosen to represent Israel at this year's Eurovision Song Contest, which takes place in Athens in May.

Butler triumphed over girl group Diamondz at the Kdam – the Israeli national final to choose a song for the contest – with his song Ze Hazman (This is the Time). Girl group Diamondz, who had been hotly tipped to win the final, came second.

"I know God loves me and I thank him for giving me the chance to represent Israel," said the 34-year-old, who comes from a large Afro-American community living in Israel , and is currently converting to Judaism.

It's not the first time that Butler will have set foot on a Eurovision stage. He previously represented the Holy Land as part of the band Eden in 1999, when the contest was held in Jerusalem (following Dana International's triumph the previous year with Diva). The band eventually finished fifth with the song Happy Birthday.

Last year Israel finished fourth in the contest –  giving them their best result since the 1998 victory  – with Shiri Maymon's ballad The Silence That Remains. As a result they have qualified directly for the final on May 20, and will not have to take part in the semi-final on May 18 to try and win a place in the main contest.