President Reuven Rivlin.
(photo credit: MARK NEYMAN / GPO)
Palmach veteran Naomi Polani, whose grandfather was one of the founders of Tel Aviv, was honored by President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday morning at a ceremony honoring 120 outstanding soldiers.
The diminutive Polani, 90, is a singer, actress and stage and screen director, who is one of the pioneers of the army entertainment troupes.
Rivlin called her “the mother of the entertainment units,” and said that every army needs entertainers to boost its morale, and that’s what Polani had done before and after the establishment of the state.
Rivlin quoted from one of her best-known songs, “Hayu Yamim
” (Those Were the Days) in which the lyrics are a reminiscence of sitting in the control room where they fought and loved, and which is no longer recognizable because a city has been built in its place, perhaps because of what happened in those days.
Rivlin said he wanted to change the text and to take out the word perhaps because, in his perception, there is no doubt that we have today owes its being and its success to what was done in those long ago days.
Rivlin called Polani on April 1 and notified her of his intention to honor her.
The president is a great fan of local songs and entertainers.
He came down from the stage to where Polani was sitting in the front row, alongside former chief of staff Benny Gantz, and presented her with a citation