How much of Israel's cultural heritage is actually Russian?main
In a reflection on the late Yafa Yarkoni published in today’s JC, I examine the origins and antecedents of her songs, many of which form a core part of Israel’s cultural heritage and national identity.
One, in particular, turns out to have been a 1943 Russian song, which was lifted lock, stock and schmaltzy cliché and transformed by Ben Gurion’s propaganda department into one of Israel’s most-played War of Independence songs. Here’s Yaffa singing Be’Arvot Hanegev.
I haven’t been able to find an original Russian recording – and would be grateful if anyone could send it in – but here is a Yiddish translation from the original Russian text, sung by the unforgettable Theodore Bikel.