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A-Ba-Ni-Bi was the Israeli entry at the Eurovision Song Contest 1978 written by Ehud Manor and Nurit Hirsh, and performed by Izhar Cohen & Alpha Beta. It is an upbeat disco-style song that talks about how children relate to love - the title itself is sung in the Bet language, a children's language game where each syllable of the word is repeated with a bet replacing the consonant. It is also one of the few songs that ends directly after a key change.

It is often a subject of mistaken lyrics among Eurovision fans, many believe that the line "a-ba-ni-bi o-bo-he-be-v" sounds like "I want to be a polar bear".

In the contest, it was performed 18th on the night, following Luxembourg and preceding Austria. At the close of voting, it received 157 points and was declared the winner, giving Israel its first victory. Nurit Hirsh also made history by becoming the first (and only) female conductor to win the contest.

Lyrics

A-ba-ni-bi o-bo-he-bev
A-ba-ni-bi o-bo-he-bev o-bo-ta-bach
A-ba-ni-bi o-bo-he-bev
A-ba-ni-bi o-bo-he-bev o-bo-ta-bach
A-ba-ni-bi o-bo-he-bev
O-bo-he-bev o-bo-ta-bach

Keshehayinu yeladim
Ahavnu besodei sodot
El mi hayinu nechmadim?
Rak ledodim uledodot

Vehabanot hamiskenot savlu
Hametukot, hen rak makot kiblu
Ve'et ma shehirgashnu be'emet
Lachashnu rak bisfat haBet

A-ba-ni-bi o-bo-he-bev
A-ba-ni-bi o-bo-he-bev o-bo-ta-bach
A-ba-ni-bi o-bo-he-bev
A-ba-ni-bi o-bo-he-bev o-bo-ta-bach

Ahava hi mila yafa
Hi tfila yafa, hi safa
Ahava hi elai tova
Hi tamid titgaber
Ubisfat ahava nedaber

A-ba-ni-bi o-bo-he-bev
A-ba-ni-bi o-bo-he-bev o-bo-ta-bach
A-ba-ni-bi o-bo-he-bev
A-ba-ni-bi o-bo-he-bev o-bo-ta-bach

Ani cholem vekam shalosh milim
Umahu ha'olam? – Shalosh milim
Veze ma she'ani margish ka'et
Mamash kmo az, bisfat haBet

A-ba-ni-bi o-bo-he-bev
A-ba-ni-bi o-bo-he-bev o-bo-ta-bach
A-ba-ni-bi o-bo-he-bev
A-ba-ni-bi o-bo-he-bev o-bo-ta-bach

A-ba-ni-bi o-bo-he-bev
A-ba-ni-bi o-bo-he-bev o-bo-ta-bach
A-ba-ni-bi o-bo-he-bev
A-ba-ni-bi o-bo-he-bev o-bo-ta-bach

A-ba-ni-bi o-bo-he-bev
A-ba-ni-bi o-bo-he-bev o-bo-ta-bach

I love
I love you
I love
I love you
I love
Love you

When we were children
We would love in secret
Who were we nice to?
Only to uncles and aunts

And the poor girls suffered
Those sweethearts, they'd just get beaten up
And what we really felt
We whispered only in the Bet language

I love
I love you
I love
I love you

Love is a beautiful word
It's a wonderous prayer, it's a language
Love is good to me
It will always overcome
And we shall speak in a language of love

I love
I love you
I love
I love you

I dream and I wake up to three words
And what is the world? – Three words
And that is how I feel now
Just like back then, in the Bet language

I love
I love you
I love
I love you

I love
I love you
I love
I love you

I love
I love you

Videos

Israel - A Ba Ni Bi (ESC 1978)

Israel - A Ba Ni Bi (ESC 1978)

Eurovision 1978 Israel - Izhar Cohen & The Alphabeta - A-ba-ni-bi

Eurovision 1978 Israel - Izhar Cohen & The Alphabeta - A-ba-ni-bi