Israeli Music – Love Songs
The people of Israel love to sing songs of love: love for God, love for their homeland, love for the world, love between a man and a woman. Some of the most beautiful poetic verses about love are found in the biblical Song of Songs. The Levites sang songs of love for God in the Temple. Through good and bad, throughout the world, during the Holocaust and the subsequent revival of the Jews, in war and in peace, the Jewish people have never stopped singing love songs.
The Israel Philatelic Service has selected 12 romantic love songs from a wide range of genres and times, songs that remind everyone of wonderful moments.
Atur Mitzchech Zahav Shachor (Your Forehead is Decorated in Gold & Black)
Lyrics: Avraham Chalfi, Melody: Yoni Rechter
Written in the 1950’s and set to music by Yoni Rechter in 1977. This very popular song was performed by Arik Einstein, accompanied by young singers Yehudit Ravitz and Corinne Allal.
Brit Olam (Universal Covenant)
Lyrics: Ehud Manor, Melody: Matti Caspi
Ehud Manor dedicated this song to his wife, singer Ofra Fuchs. He later gave it to his friend, composer and singer Matti Caspi, who added the words to the soundtrack he was composing for the film Hagiga BaSnuker (1975). Thus this magical love song was born. Matti named his firstborn daughter Brit.
Lechol Echad Yesh (Everyone Has)
Lyrics and Melody: Uzi Chitman
One of the last hits by late songwriter Uzi Chitman, who wrote this love song in 2000 for his wife Aya when their son Yoav was drafted into an IDF combat unit. It expresses life and partnership coming full circle. Some interpret the song as one of love for Eretz Israel. It was performed as a duet by Shlomi Shabat and Lior Narkis and has become a popular wedding song.
Zemer Nogeh (Melancholy Song)
Lyrics: Rachel, Melody: Mordechai Zaira, Shmuel Kraus, Zohar Levy, Yosef Moustaki
This poem was written by poetess Rachel in the late 1920’s. It was set to music several different times, but became especially well known when Rona Ramon sent it to her husband Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut, who died in the Columbia space shuttle.
Hayu Leilot (There were Nights)
Lyrics: Yaakov Orland, Melody: Mordechai Zeira
This song was commissioned by the Kol Haruchot Theater in 1939. The songwriters met in the “Waiters Club” in Tel Aviv and completed it in the wee hours of the night, when it was first performed by the club’s waiters. Since then, the song has been sung by many singers, but it was the first song performed by Esther Ofarim as a soloist and from there she went on to be a star.
Lyrics: Leah Goldberg, Melody: Oded Lerer
This poem appeared in Leah Goldberg’s book Shibolet Yeroket Ha’Ayin (Green-eyed Spike) in 1938. It was set to music by Oded Lerer in 1977 and sung by Yehudit Ravitz at the annual Song Festival.
Haperach Begani (The Flower in my Garden)
Lyrics and Melody: Avihu Medina
This song, which is considered to be a milestone in Eastern music, was written by Avihu Medina based on an experience of unrequited love in his youth. The song was written for the Eastern music festival “Lamenatze’ach Shir Mizmor” in 1982, where it was performed by Zohar Argov.
Kshe’or Dolek Bechalonech (When the Light is on in your Window)
Lyrics: Amos Ettinger, Melody: Alexander Argov
This song was written in 1964 for the Gesher Hayarkon trio. Ettinger wrote: “I love fairytales and the ones I don’t know, I make up… As long as I continue to believe that the light is on so that you can write your letters to me – I will keep waiting…”.
Tapuchim Ut’marim (Apples and Dates)
Lyrics: Eitan Glass, Melody: Rami Kleinstein
According to the lyricist: “In 1994, I was driving and listening to the tune from the film “Never on Sunday” and it reminded me of the bright light of Athens reflecting the colors from Mt. Lycabettus into the sea… the lyrics and the story for the song came to me in an instant, matched with a melody by Greek composer Hatzidakis. I pulled over and wrote down the lyrics. Later on, Rami Kleinstein set them to music”.
Lyrics: Haim Hefer, Melody: Dubi Seltzer
Haim Hefer wrote this song for Yehoram Gaon, star of the 1973 film Kazablan, directed by Menahem Golan. The play Kazablan, written by Yigal Mossinson, was first performed in 1954 by the Cameri Theater, starring Yosef Yadin and Haya Hararit. In 1966 the play was turned into a musical starring Yehoram Gaon.
Pgisha Le’Ein Ketz (A Meeting to Eternity)
Lyrics: Natan Alterman, Melody: Naomi Shemer
This poem was published in Alterman’s book “Kochavim Bachutz” in 1938. Naomi Shemer set it to music and gave it to the “Shlosharim” trio in 1969. Since then it has been performed by many talented singers.
Hachnisini Tachat Knafech (Take Me Under Your Wing)
Lyrics: H.N. Bialik, Melody: Alexander Krane, Shmuel Alman, Paul Ben Haim, Menachen Avidom, Nurit Hirsch, Miki Gavrielov, folk tune
This poem was written by poet H.N. Bialik in 1905 in Odessa, for his beloved Ira Jan or for his wife Mania, or possibly for both… The words were set to music by numerous composers, including Paul Ben Haim, Nurit Hirsch, Miki Gavrielov and more, and it has been performed by many singers.
Nava Bodek Achiron, Series Editor