Israel selects euro hopeful
by: Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2013-03-08
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Israeli singer Moran Mazor is set to represent the country at this year's Eurovision Song Contest, which will be held in the Swedish city of Malmo in May.
The bespectacled songstress fought off competition from nine other acts in the Israeli national final, the Kdam, on Thursday night with her powerful ballad Rak Bishvilo (Only For Him).
This year's Israeli selection was bigger than ever, with competitors taking part in a series of qualifying and second chance rounds before ten were selected for the grand final.
Mazor will compete in the second semi-final of the contest on May 16 in a bid to win a place in the grand final on May 18.
And she will no doubt be hoping to restore her nation's fortunes in the contest after a couple of disastrous years.
Israel's track record in the annual songfest is impressive with three previous victories - in 1978, 1979, and most recently with Dana International in 1998.
However they have not qualified for the final since 2010 when Harel Skaat's ballad Milim made it through, eventually finishing in 14th place.
Previous winner Dana International returned for another try in 2011 but her song Ding Dong failed to win a place in the final - while 2012's Israeli act, the psychedelic indie-rockers Izabo, also fell at the first hurdle with the song ime.