Israeli comedian and songwriter Menachem Zilberman dies at 67

Zilberman is best known for his lead role in the Israeli TV series ‘Hedva Ve’ Shlomik’ that iconicized Israel in the 1970s.

By BENJI ROSEN
January 13, 2014 21:48
1 minute read.
Menachem Zilberman

Menachem Zilberman with two members of the Smokin’ Gun band in Herzliya Pituah in 1994.. (photo credit: Jerusalem Post archives)

 
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Israeli comedian and songwriter Menachem Zilberman, who is best known for the TV series Hedva Ve’ Shlomik, died from a heart attack Monday at age 67. The funeral will be held in Los Angeles where Zilberman lived since 2000.

Zilberman is survived by his three children, two of whom are from his marriage to Dr. Dorit Zilberman. Although Menachem and Dorit Zilberman separated in 1998, Dorit said that she and Menachem remained close because they are “family.” She eulogized Zilberman as a comedic “genius” and a “perfectionist,” just as she said every great comedian should be.

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Zilberman was born in Israel in 1946. In 1965, he became a star in the IDF’s immensely popular Nahal troupe that sang and performed for military and civilians audiences throughout Israel.

After his discharge from the army, Zilberman got his big break in 1971 with the lead male role in Hedva Ve’ Shlomik. In the Israeli TV series, Zilberman starred as Shlomik Geffen, a kibbutznik who is lured to the big city by the cosmopolitan Hedva, played by Yael Aviv.

The award-winning show became a local icon in the 1970s, when there was only one Israeli television station.

Zilberman, however, in a 2011 interview with Yedioth Aharonot, admitted that he wondered if his role as Shlomik stymied his career.

“I was sure that if I played a leading role on television, all the doors would open to me,” Zilberman said. “But, in fact, the exact opposite happened... I became too identified with Shlomik.

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Zilberman was also celebrated for appearing in the 1976 cult-classic film Giv’at Halfon Eina Ona as the soldier Wasserman.

He was also behind several of the hits of the superstar group Kaveret, writing, among other songs, “Baruch’s boots” (Hamagafayim shel Baruch).

After continuing a career in entertainment and music through most of the past decade, Zilberman moved to Los Angeles in 2000 where he mostly owned and operated “Zilbertours Travel Makers,” a tour guide company that catered to Israeli tourists visiting California.

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