Yafa Yarkoni, doyenne of Israeli song, is dead

The last of the founding singers of Israeli popular song died today in Tel Aviv, aged 86. She had been suffering from Alzheimers for several years.

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photo: Saar Ya’akov

Yafa came to prominence in the 1948 war of Independence with ‘Green Eyes’  and Bab el-Wad.

She was identified ever after as a muse the nation turned to in times of war. She lost her first husband in the Jewish Brigade in Italy in 1945.

Her chief rival as vocal icon was Shoshana Damari, who died in 2006. Both had  low voices, Yarkoni baritonal, Damari genuinely deep.

Here she is, in her prime, singing Dona, Dona.

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  • Yarkoni represented a gentler time, a bygone era, and although she remained an icon until the end, her music and style lost their relevance after the Yom Kippur war.

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