Haim Hefer, 1949
29 October 1925
|Died||18 September 2012
Tel Aviv, Israel
|Occupation||Songwriter, poet, writer|
|Notable award(s)||1983 Israel Prize|
Haim Feiner (later Hefer) was born in Sosnowiec, Poland in 1925 to Issachar Feiner, a chocolate salesman, and Rivka Herzberg, a housewife. He had a private Hebrew tutor. His family immigrated to Palestine in 1936 and settled in Raanana. He began writing at the age of 13, as part of a national contest. He never finished high school and joined the Palmach in 1943. He took part in smuggling illegal immigrants through Syria and Lebanon. During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, he was one of the founders of the Chizbatron, the Palmach army troupe, and was its chief songwriter.
In the 1950s, Hefer and Dahn Ben-Amotz wrote A Bag of Fibs, a collection of tall tales made up in the Palmach, and founded the "Hamam" club in Jaffa. During that time, he founded "Revi'iat Moadon HaTeatron" (Theater Club Quartet). He wrote a weekly column for Yediot Aharonot, which included maqamas on current affairs. A Bag of Fibs achieved cult status in Israel. He was later made a cultural attache to the Israeli consul in Los Angeles.
He wrote for dozens of composers, including Sasha Argov, Moshe Wilensky and Dubi Seltzer. Artists who performed his songs include Arik Lavie, Yehoram Gaon, Shoshana Damari and Yafa Yarkoni, as well as The High Windows and most Israeli military bands. He wrote lyrics for musicals, including Kazablan and I Like Mike. Many of his songs, such as "Hafinjan" (The Billy Kettle), "Hayu Zmanim" (In Those Days) and "Hamilkhama Ha'achrona" (The Last War) are considered Israeli classics. He also published several collections of his verses. Shortly before the 1948 war, he wrote a song titled "Between the Borders", about immigration. It included the words "We are here, a defensive shield". In 2002, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched an operation in the West Bank and named it Operation Defensive Shield.
In 2002, Hefer described Moroccan Jewish culture as inferior to that of the Polish Jews. He called Aviv Geffen a phony and criticized Yaffa Yarkoni for badmouthing the IDF. His remarks were condemned as racist and criticized by then President of Israel, Moshe Katsav, members of the Moroccan community, and representatives of the Shas Party, as well as Mizrahi musicians such as Margalit Tzan'ani. Hefer made a public apology and wrote a song for singer Zehava Ben.
In 2008 in Poland published a book, "Chaim Chefer-Memorable Days"("Chaim Chefer - Pamiętne Dni"), the development of the graphic made by Pawel Slota under the artistic supervision of Agnieszka Tyrman. The book was out of admiration and respect for the work of Chaim Chefer in the jubilee year the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel
- Avrahami, Avner. "There are lines I'd erase". Haaretz. Retrieved 17 October 2008. (Hebrew)
- Yudilovitch, Merav (14 November 2005). "Celebrating Haim Hefer's 80th birthday at Tzavta". Ynet. Retrieved 17 October 2008. (Hebrew)
- "Ein-Hod Articles". ein-hod.israel.net. Retrieved 17 October 2008.
- Kershner, Isabel (20 September 2012). "Haim Hefer, Israeli Songwriter and Poet, Dies at 86". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
- Cashman, Greer Fay (18 September 2012). "National culture icon Haim Hefer dies at 86". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2012-09-19.
- Rubinstein, Danny (12 June 2007). "A Jerusalemite enters a restaurant in India and orders a cup of tea". Haaretz. Retrieved 5 September 2008. (Hebrew)
- Eichner, Itamar (23 June 2003). "Moti Reif's appointment as cultural attache approved". Ynet. Retrieved 17 October 2008. (Hebrew)
- Palti, Michal (15 April 2002). "Song of peace, song of war". Haaretz. Retrieved 17 October 2008.
- Yudilovitch, Merav; Ari Katorza (7 June 2002). "Haim Hefer: The Moroccans – Undeveloped". Ynet. Retrieved 17 October 2008. (Hebrew)
- "Hefer's remarks condemned as racist". Jerusalem Post. 9 June 2002. Retrieved 17 October 2008.
- Yudilovitch, Merav (16 June 2003). "Haim Hefer to write for Zehava Ben". Ynet. Retrieved 17 October 2008. (Hebrew)
- "Israel Prize Official Site – Recipients in 1983 (in Hebrew)".
- "Hefer, Chaim (1925 – )". Jewish Agency. Retrieved 17 October 2008.
- Haim Hefer at the Internet Movie Database
- Haim Hefer and Dahn Ben-Amotz. 28 October 2007. Event occurs at 66 seconds. Retrieved 17 October 2008.