This past weekend, I spent time with a dear friend from college. He’s always full of interesting, if not bizarre facts. And this tidbit I couldn’t keep to myself.
We got to talking about Jewish music, and he asked me if I knew the story behind the Israeli song “A-Ba-Ni-Bi.” The song won the Eurovision Song Contest, an annual European competition, in 1978.
So what does “a-ba-ni-bi” mean in Hebrew? Wikipedia says it best:
The song is generally translated as “I Love You”, but the chorus is in “Bet language”, a Hebrew language game similar to Pig Latin, in which each syllable is followed by the letter Bet and the relevant vowel. Thus, a more faithful English translation might in fact be “Ibi Lobove Youbou”(MORE)
Furthermore, Arab countries broadcasting the contest had issues with Israel winning. Jordanian TV ended the show with a still shot of daffodils rather than acknowledge the Israeli entry. After the show Jordanian media announced that the winner was Belgium, which had actually come in second place.
From the original broadcast, as sung by Izhar Cohen and Alphabeta: