Yehuda Poliker, Avi Nesher to light torches on Independence Day

Miri Regev surprises singer with the news at Herzliya show.

Avi Nesher (photo credit: IMDB.COM)
Avi Nesher
(photo credit: IMDB.COM)
Rock singer and musician Yehuda Poliker and filmmaker Avi Nesher will be among those honored to light the torch on the eve of Israel’s 71rst Independence Day ceremonies, the Ministerial Committee for Ceremonies and Symbols has announced.
Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev surprised the singer during his Tuesday performance in Herzliya at the Zappa Club and told him the news on stage with the audience cheering.
“Poliker opened a splendid musical window to the Mediterranean Sea,” Regev said in a press release, “and did so alongside producing great pop and rock music.”
Poliker is regarded by many as leading Israeli music into discussing the Holocaust and the legacy of diaspora Jews with his 1989 album Ashes and Dust, which dealt with their experience as a second generation of Holocaust survivors. Poliker’s parents were born in Greece in the city of Thessaloniki.
The album is seen by many as one of the best rock albums in Israeli music.
Poliker will light the torch to honor children of Holocaust survivors, as well all Israeli musicians.
Nesher, Israel’s most acclaimed and popular director, will be the first filmmaker given the honor of lighting the torch.
The committee noted that “Nesher is a director, screenwriter and producer of Israeli films whose works have been very successful in Israel and abroad.”
The announcement went on to say that the honor was also granted to him in recognition of Nesher and his family’s “noble act” of donating the organs of his son, Ari – who was killed in an accident in September – to five people, saving their lives.
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Nesher said, “I’ve been getting calls all morning, it’s been crazy. It’s interesting how big an impact this has here, it’s like getting the Congressional Medal of Honor in the US. It’s deep in the Israeli DNA. It’s an especially big honor because I’m the first filmmaker to be chosen for this. After a very difficult year between the government and the filmmaking community, I’m very happy that I will be there as a representative of Israeli culture.”
Nesher began his career in his early 20s, directing the classic The Troupe (Ha Lahaka) in 1978. He has made 20 feature films in Israel and abroad. His last film, The Other Story, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September and broke box-office records in Israel when it was released last fall.