Yafa Yarkoni

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Yafa Yarkoni (Hebrew: יפה ירקוני‎, also Yaffa Yarqoni, 24 December 1925 – 1 January 2012) was an Israeli singer, winner of the Israel Prize in 1998 for Hebrew song. She was dubbed Israel's “songstress of the wars” due to her frequent performances for Israel Defense Forces soldiers, especially in wartime.[1] She was from a Mountain Jewish family.[2]

Yafa Yarkoni
Flickr - Government Press Office (GPO) - YAFFA YARKONI DURING THE "TELETROM"..jpg
Background information
Birth nameYafa Abramov
Also known asThe “Songstress of the Wars”
Born(1925-12-24)24 December 1925
Giv'at Rambam, British Mandate for Palestine
Died1 January 2012(2012-01-01) (aged 86)
Reut Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel


Yafa Abramov (later Yafa Gustin and Yafa Yarkoni) was born in Giv'at Rambam (today a neighbourhood of Giv'atayim) to a Jewish family that immigrated from the Caucasus. At the age of ten, she studied ballet dancing under Gertrude Kraus, one of Israel's dance pioneers.

In the 1940s, her mother ran a café in Givat Rambam, where Yafa performed with her sister Tikva and her brother Binyamin. On 21 September 1944, she married Joseph Gustin, who fought in World War II with the Jewish Brigade and was killed in battle in Italy in 1945.[3]

Yarkoni married Shaike Yarkoni in 1948.[4] They had three daughters.[5]

In 2000, Yarkoni was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.[6][7] According to her daughter, Haaretz journalist Orit Shochat, her condition worsened in 2007. That year she appeared for the last time on a television show produced in her honor by the Israel Broadcasting Authority.

Music careerEdit

In 1948, during Israel's 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Yarkoni joined an IDF song troupe affiliated with the Givati Brigade. Bab el-Wad, a song she performed at the time, became a classic, sung every year on Israel's Memorial Day. After the war, she performed songs for a program on the Kol Yisrael radio station.[8]

Most of Yarkoni's songs were written by Tuli Reviv and Haim Hefer.[9] Yarkoni also performed some of Naomi Shemer's early children's songs.

Among her most well-known songs are "Don't Say Goodbye, Say I Will See You," about a soldier parting from his girlfriend before battle, and "Road to Jerusalem," about soldiers transporting food to Jerusalem when the city was under siege in 1948.[5]


In 1998, Yarkoni was awarded the Israel Prize, for Hebrew song.[10]


On 1 January 2012, Yarkoni died at Reut Medical Center in Tel Aviv. She is buried in the Kiryat Shaul cemetery in Tel Aviv, beside her husband.[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Korpe, Marie (25 May 2010). Shoot the singer!: music censorship ... ISBN 9781842775042. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
  2. ^ https://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/jpost/access/99200762.html?dids=99200762:99200762&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Jul+14%2C+1989&author=Mira+Helet&pub=Jerusalem+Post&desc=HOME+COUNTRY+COOKING&pqatl=google |url= missing title (help). Retrieved 27 August 2011.
  3. ^ "Yaffa Yarkoni". Jewish Women's Archive. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
  4. ^ Yaffa Yarkoni, Israel's Queen of Song dead at 86
  5. ^ a b Yaffa Yarkoni dies at 86; Israeli singer
  6. ^ NRG-Maariv, "Mom doesn't remember she was a singer anymore – Orit Shochat, Yafa Yarkoni's said her mother had been suffering from Alzheimer disease since 2000" (in Hebrew); Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, Jerusalem Post, "TAU discovery: Excess protein linked to Alzheimer's must be prevented before it accumulates on brain": "The latest Israeli personality whose Alzheimer's disease was disclosed is Yaffa Yarkoni".
  7. ^ https://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/jpost/access/1908050561.html?FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Nov+23%2C+2009&author=JUDY+SIEGEL&pub=Jerusalem+Post&desc=TAU+discovery%3A+Excess+protein+linked+to+Alzheimer%27s+must+be+prevented+before+it+accumulates+on+brain.+After+its+coagulations+appear+in+the+brain+cells%2C+process+is+too+advanced+to+be+reversed&pqatl=google. Retrieved 27 August 2011. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ https://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/jpost/access/99183518.html?dids=99183518:99183518&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Mar+02%2C+1990&author=Mira+Helet&pub=Jerusalem+Post&desc=WHEN+IS+A+PREMIERE+NOT+A+PREMIERE%3F&pqatl=google |url= missing title (help). Retrieved 27 August 2011.
  9. ^ Motti, Regev; Regev, Motti; Seroussi, Edwin (26 April 2004). Popular music and national culture ... ISBN 9780520236547. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
  10. ^ "Israel Prize Official site – Recipients in 1998 (in Hebrew)".
  11. ^ "Legendary Israeli singer Yafa Yarkoni dies at 86". Haaretz. 1 January 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2012.

External linksEdit