Kobi Marimi performs in Jerusalem on Feb. 12, 2019 during the final of the reality show "The Next Star," whose winner represents Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel released “Home,” its entry in the 2019 Eurovision, a 180-degree turn from last year’s winning entry “Toy.”

Kobi Marimi, 27, the winner of the Israeli reality television show “The Next Star,” will perform the original song, a heartfelt ballad about self-discovery and homecoming.

“I’m excited and proud to represent my country here at home,” Marimi after the song was made public on Sunday. “The song talks about empowerment and personal faith, a subject that is very close to me and I believe that everyone will be able to connect to it like me.”

The song, written and composed by Ohad Shargai and Inbar Weitzman, both previous contestants on Israeli reality shows, was selected from among 200 songs submitted to the selection committee.

It is entirely in English.  “I feel the sun upon my skin/ And I am someone, I am someone. You pulled my heart, I took it in/ It made me someone, I am someone/ And now I’m done, I’m coming home,” says the refrain.

Israel won back-to-back Eurovisions in 1978 and 1979, and then again in 1998. Israeli won the right to host Eurovision in May when Netta Barzilai won the contest with her song “Toy.”  The finals will take place in Tel Aviv on May 18, with semi-finals on May 14 and May 16.

Since Israel is hosting Eurovision, Marimi will not have to compete in the semi-finals but will go straight through to the finals of the international song contest, where he will sing 14th out of 41 performances.



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