Eurovision 1976: Israel’s Chocolate, Menta, Mastik in focus

Israel made their fourth appearance at Eurovision in 1976. That year, the female trio Chocolate, Menta, Mastik  were chosen to represent them.

The Israeli Broadcasting Company (IBA) decided to internally select the performers who would represent them at Eurovision 1976. This was the fourth time in a row that the act was internally selected.

At the start of 1976 Chocolate, Menta, Mastik performed three songs as potential Eurovision entries, on Israeli Television. Emor Shalom beat out Ze Tov, Ze Tov and Keshet BeAnsn and was therefore selected as the Israeli entry.

The group headed to the contest in The Hague, The Netherlands and performed fourth. They gained 77 points, scoring best with 10 points from Italy, eventually finishing in a respectable sixth place.

Emor Shalom – opinions from fans

Michael O. – These were the days when I used to think every entry was great, and although obviously this has dated a bit, it is still one of my favourite memories of 1976. I’d have been quite happy if this had won, yet sixth place also seems fair, as all the songs that placed higher were classic entries as well.

Alvaro S. – The girls from Chocolate, Menta and Mastik sent a vibrant entry in 1976. I liked their performance how they are so coordinated in their choreography. Very enjoyable tune. A well deserved 4th place that opened the gates for better results for Israel.

Mihai D. – Abba’s 1974 victory forced all countries to feverishly seek another winning group formula. It was also the most successful period of disco music. Disco music was constantly looking for fresh elements and new sounds. Israel’s song from 1976 has a beginning identical to that of the song Money, Money, Money by the band Abba but goes in a different direction. It brings music-hall inserts, a pleasant vocality and a clean and neat presence. It was a time when performers played with a live orchestra. All in all, it was a good presence in the competition of those years.

Egemen O. – Israel tends to send underestimated songs and sometimes, the ones that are off-beat. I think this song is also one of them. Forgotten on the shelves but catchy for its era. However, I cannot get to give it a full grade for 2 reasons. First, the beat is like a man who wants to take action and tries hard for that but never gets there. Second, maybe I’m judging in realms of 2021, but it sounds like a cartoon theme and really reminds me of the official theme of Pink Panther.

Inês M – A simple song in the style of Israeli performances from decades ago, however, I believe it is well accomplished. The voices of the choir are in harmony, as is the accompanying orchestra. I believe that this had been an underrated song.

Quieque B. – Since their arrival in 1974 Israel has contributed and made the ESC richer year after year. Emor Shalom is not an exception. This song has a modern sound, the singers do it very well and are well-dressed (for 1976, obviously) and the result is a very catchy and nice entry.

Jill R. – I was born at the end of 1975, so I obviously don’t remember this song from back then. I don’t think I have ever heard this song later either. But I can’t be sure since it isn’t that memorable. It is nothing special to me, neither good nor bad. But I think it deserved 6th place since there were a lot of songs in 1976 that were worse and the group sings quite well. They are not very interesting to look at on stage though, but their choreography is a bit funny at times (probably unintentionally).

Charlotte J. – Being born in January 1976, this contest is not one I remember myself. But I do remember growing up hearing the UK and the Dutch entries quite a lot, played by my parents casette tapes. Later, I discovered some of the other entries too, and found myself liking them. I know I must have heard this one from Israel at some point, but I don’t remember it. In a few minutes, I will most likely have forgotten it again. It just doesn’t do anything for me. While I don’t have a big urge to turn it off, I just accept it being on. It’s fine background music, but I can’t seem to connect to it in any way.

Paul G. – If I’m really honest this is one of those songs that I’m quite indifferent to. I don’t dislike it, but I don’t like it that much either. Sorry because I do have a soft spot for the Israeli entries.

Below you can watch the Israeli entry from 1976, and then read a little about what happened to the ladies after Eurovision.

Chocolate, Menta, Mastik – a brief biography

Yardena Arazi, Ruthie Holzman made up two of the members of Chocolate, Menta, Mastik. They formed the group in 1972. The third member swapped between Tami Azaria and Leah Lupatin.
In English the group would be called Chocolate, Mint and Bubblegum.

The trio performed around their homeland before being asked to represent Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest 1976. Afterwards they continued to perform before parting ways in 1978.

Yardena Arazi became the biggest star of the group afterwards, co-presenting the Eurovision Song Contest 1979 and then representing Israel again in 1988 with . She won the award of Top female singer in Israel, five times. In 2008, she was announced as the top female singer of all time in Israel.

Ruthie Holzman went on to become an actress and comedian. She voiced the lioness in the Lion King, performing Circle of Life in Hebrew.

Leah Lupatin replaced Gali Atari and toured with the 1979 Eurovision winners, Milk and Honey.

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