Israeli pop diva Noa Kirel strolls through empty streets all over the world in the latest ad for the Yes Plus satellite network, crooning the opening lines of “Ballad for a Policeman,” the classic Ehud Manor-Nurit Hirsh song that was made famous in Ephraim Kishon’s movie, The Policeman, which is currently marking its 50th anniversary.
Previous ads for Yes Plus with Kirel have generated controversy of an unpleasant nature – her Hair-themed military ad offended some with its antiwar theme, while others thought she should not make light of her perhaps less-than-rigorous army service – but this one seems to hit all the right notes.
She passes through mostly Italian streets – with the Spanish Steps and the Fontana di Trevi in the background – as well as New York and London, singing Manor’s famous lines about emptiness.
She refers to the fact that people have little to do these days but watch TV – and get vaccinated. The computer-generated imagery is excellent, and if you didn’t know we were in the midst of a pandemic, you would think she had traveled to all these destinations.
She attracts the attention of apartment dwellers, who peer down from their balconies at her, and one little boy calls her a princess, while an angry man throws a bucket of water at her, and she is aided by a policeman who is costumed like Shaike Ophir (the actor for whom the Ophir Awards, Israel’s Oscars, were named) in The Policeman.
The policeman in the video strikes Ophir’s iconic pose at the end of the film, which is known in Hebrew as Ha-Shoter Azulai.
It was the second Israeli film, and the second film by Kishon, to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. It tells the story of the hapless Jaffa cop Abraham Azulai, who is so naive and good-hearted that he is beloved by all criminals because he lets them get away with everything.
When his superiors force him to retire, the thieves stage a heist of a cross from a church and do everything possible to get Azulai to catch them, so he will become a hero and continue on the force. The film is currently screening on Yes’s Israeli channel to mark its anniversary.
In a Channel 12 feature on the anniversary of the film, which is central to the history of Israeli cinema, Nurit Hirsh, who composed the music for the iconic song, which has won polls as the best-loved theme song in Israeli film history, said she thought it was wonderful that the song was being “renewed” by a new version, even if that version included a pitch for Yes.
At the end of the clip, Kirel is hustled into a van by Yaakov Zada Daniel, one of the cast of Fauda, and speeds off with them. Fauda is one of Yes’s biggest hits.