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Eurovision 2018 winner Netta said her entry for Israel was 'about empowerment'

Duncan Laurence from the Netherlands has won the 2019 Eurovision song contest with his song Arcade in Tel Aviv, Israel.

The show is taking place at Tel Aviv's Expo Center, starting at 10 p.m. Saturday (1900 GMT.) Some 200 million people around the world are expected to be watching. "Hallelujah" became the country's unofficial national song after Milk and Honey won the contest for Israel when it hosted the event in the late 1970s, and Dana International became a national hero and global transgender icon when she won with "Diva" in 1998.

But organisers said the inclusion of Israeli and Palestinian flags in the show was not approved in advance. Coming in second with 465 points was Italy's Alessandro Mahmoud, AKA Mahmood, followed by Russia's Sergey Lazarev with 369 points.

As Europe's annual musical celebration culminated in triumph for the Netherlands on Saturday night, with political rancour failing to dampen the mood of this year's Eurovision final in Tel Aviv, Pink Floyd bassist and songwriter Roger Waters hit Twitter to slam Eurovision and applaud an alternative project - Globalvision.

The 60-year-old singer, who is a follower of the mystical form of Judaism called Kabbalah, had faced criticism from pro-Palestinian activists for performing at the event. "I hope and pray that we will soon break free from this awful cycle of destruction and create a new path towards peace", the statement continued.

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Iceland's hair-raising heavy metal Eurovision act Hatari raised Palestinian flags during their appearance on the show, which had been steeped in controversy over its host country of Israel. The EBU said the political display "directly contradicts the contest rules".

At the same time the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement slammed Eurovision for distracting the world's attention from the fate of the Palestinians under Israeli occupation. Farther south, near Jaffa, an area of beach was sealed off for the "Eurovision Village" spectators pavilion.

"I got my inspiration from the story of a loved one who died at a young age", Laurence said of his Eurovision song. His country is one of a handful of non-European nations, including Israel, to take part.

The event itself was being hosted by a quartet of Israeli celebrities, including top model Bar Refaeli.

He said: "The main thing I wanted to do was come and sing my heart out and make my country proud".

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