Yarkoni, Yaffa

Born in Israel in 1925, Yarkoni has had a successful singing career in the new State of Israel, starting off singing songs of the Palmach. She was a radio operator during Israel’s War of Independence. She started singing for large groups at that time, appearing in the army choral troupe and continued to bolster the nation’s morale through many of the tough wars for the next fifty years and became known as “the Singer of the Wars.” In 1967, Yarkoni was chosen to sing “Jerusalem of Gold” in front of the Western Wall after Israel recaptured the city. She traveled throughout the world singing Israel’s new Hebrew songs to sell-out audiences in world venues such as New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Paris Olympia and London’s Palladium. In 1998, she was awarded the Israel Prize during the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the State. In 2000, a CD, “Rumania, Rumania” of Yarkoni singing Yiddish songs (with arrangements by Glenn Osser) was produced by Simon Rutberg of Hatikvah music. In 2002, after a controversial radio interview in which she opposed some political actions of the Israeli government, Yarkoni received hate mail and had her life threatened. Many of her concerts were canceled and there was a boycott called of her music. Later, such harsh attitudes by many softened, due to her great service for so many decades to the country. In 2005, nearing age 80, she sang again for the 57th anniversary of Israel, but also agreed to appear at the Vox Club for gay fans in Tel Aviv. Her show of support by agreeing to sing there was very well received among that community. To hear excerpts of Yarkoni singing in a live show from 1970 visit here.