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The real winners of the second Eurovision semifinal? Shalva Band wows the world

The group received a long standing ovation at the end of their act, and host Bar Refaeli appeared to be holding back tears as she remarked on their performance.

The Shalva Band were finalists on the reality TV show “Rising Star,” that was to determine Israel’s entry for the annual song contest taking place this week in Tel Aviv, but the group quit the show over the prospect of being forced to break the Jewish day of rest if selected as the winner.

Eurovision contestants are required to perform onstage in the general rehearsal, which will be held on Friday evening — 24 hours before the tournament’s final.

Israel had unsuccessfully tried to persuade the European Broadcasting Union to bend the rules to allow the band to compete without performing on Shabbat, but the request was turned down.

“The heart-warming response from the public is so much more important to us than Eurovision.”