National treasure songwriter Haim Hefer dies at 87

Israel Prize laureate passes away at Ichilov Hospital; Ministry of Education to add poems, writing to school curriculum.

September 18, 2012 17:25
1 minute read.
Hefer with the Chizbatron, September 1949

Haim Hefer 370. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)


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Israeli songwriter, poet and Israel Prize laureate Haim Hefer passed away on Tuesday, aged 87 at the Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv after fighting a long illness.

Minister of Education Gideon Sa'ar expressed deep regret evening the death of the late Haim Hefer participant family's grief:

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"Hefer's work embodies the spirit of Israel's struggle for independence and the heroism of its soldiers, as well as it's longing for peace. It is hard to imagine Israeli culture without the songs of Hefer that have become invaluable to us."

Sa'ar has instructed the Education Ministry to add his works to literature and education classes.

Labor party leader Shelly Yacimovich also expressed her regret, adding that his work has had a deep impact on the language, culture and humor of the state of Israel, and in this way, "he will stay with us always."

Hefer's family immigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine in 1936 and settled in Raanana. He began writing at the age of 13, as part of a national contest. He never finished high school and joined the Palmach in 1943 at aged 17.

He took part in smuggling illegal immigrants through Syria and Lebanon.

Shortly before the 1948 war, he wrote a song titled "Between the Borders", about immigration. It included the words "We are here, a defensive shield". In 2002, the Israel Defense Forces launched an operation in the West Bank and named it Operation Defensive Shield.

During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, he was one of the founders of the Chizbatron, the Palmach army troupe, and was its chief songwriter.

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