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Israeli cultural icon Yehonatan Geffen dies at 76

His 1978 record album “The Sixteenth Sheep” is one of the best-selling in the country's history.

Yehonatan Geffen. Source: Twitter.
Yehonatan Geffen. Source: Twitter.

Israeli literary, musical and overall cultural icon Yehonatan Geffen died on Wednesday aged 76.

“It is hard to imagine the existence of Israeli art, our anthems, the worlds of literature and theater without his unique and unforgettable contribution,” President Isaac Herzog said of Geffen after his death.

Geffen was born in Moshav Nahalal in 1947, just prior to Israel’s reestablishment. He served in elite units in the Israel Defense Forces and fought in Nablus and the Golan Heights during the Six-Day War in 1967.

After moving to Tel Aviv, Geffen published a volume of poems under the tutelage of Natan Alterman.

Geffen’s 1978 record album “The Sixteenth Sheep” is one of the best-selling in Israel’s history.

His mother, Aviva Dayan, was the sister of war hero and former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan.

Geffen was active politically and his left-wing views were often fiercely criticized. In 2018, he lionized Palestinian Ahed Tamimi, who is known for assaulting IDF soldiers, comparing her to Anne Frank. In response, then-Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman called to ban his music from Army Radio.

Geffen is survived by his first wife, Nurit, and their two children, Shira and famous singer Aviv; and his second wife, Ava Hadad, and their daughter Natasha.

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