Transgender pop diva Dana International will represent Israel at this year's Eurovision song contest. The Israeli music star won the chance to sing the Hebrew and English song "Ding Dong," written by Zvika Pik, during a contest Tuesday night broadcast on Israeli television, where viewers voted for their choice. She won Eurovision in 1998 with the song "Diva," also written by Pik.
The sight of Israeli Minister of Tourism Moshe Katzav being kissed by Israeli singer and Eurovision song contest winner Dana International must have made someone, somewhere blush. But you wouldn't have known it by reading any of the Israeli papers last week. With the kind of glee that is only reserved in the Holy Land for the smashing of idols, Israeli editorialists pounced on Dana's victory as further proof that Israel, having produced not just a Eurovision contest winner, but a transsexual one, has finally arrived as a nation among nations. So finally, we have the good word from Israel: Androgyny is in. Ethnocentricism (read Judaism with its intolerance for diversity and priggish emphasis on sexual purity), is most definitely out.
Early Sunday morning, just before 1 a.m. Israelitime, a roar was heard coming out of living rooms across the country.Israel had just won the annual Eurovision Song Contest, held thisyear in Birmingham, England, and watched by as many as 100 million TVviewers in Europe and Asia. Wildest of all, Israel's representativeat the contest was singer Dana International, a tall, dark,thirtysomething transsexual who had grown up as a boy named YaronCohen.