Yoram Taharlev

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Yoram Taharlev
יורם טהרלב
Yoram Taharlev Portrait.jpg
Yoram Taharlev, 2016
Born (1938-01-24) January 24, 1938 (age 83)

Yoram Taharlev (Hebrew: יורם טהרלב‎; born January 24, 1938) is an Israeli poet, lyricist, author and comedian. He wrote lyrics for hundreds of songs that were composed and recorded by prominent composers and performers.

Early life[edit]

Yoram Taharlev was born January 24, 1938, to Yaffa Yitzikovitz and author and poet Haim Taharlev, in kibbutz Yagur. During his military service, he served as a reporter for an army newspaper.



Taharlev mostly wrote for festivals and competitions, including the Israeli Song Festival and the Eurovision Song Contest. He published many poetry and song books. For many years he served as a publisher for the Israeli Ministry of Defense.

Taharlev has a diverse repertoire. Among his songs, one can find love songs, patriotic songs, songs about nature and about friendship and humorous songs. His song "Ammunition Hill" (Hebrew: גבעת התחמושת‎ Givat Hatachmoshet) is among many that struck a chord with the public due to its authentic description of the battle at Jerusalem's Ammunition Hill during the Six-Day War. "Be My Friend, Be My Brother" (Hebrew: היֵה לי חבר היֵה לי אח‎ Heye li Haver Heye li Ach) is about friendship and "The Ballad of Yoel Moshe Salomon" (Hebrew: הבלדה על יואל משה סלומון‎ HaBalada Shel Yoel Salomon) sung by Arik Einstein, which starts off with the words "On a humid morning in 1878" (Hebrew: בבוקר לח בשנת תרל"ח BeVoker Lach BiShnat Tarlach) is a description of an episode in Israeli history (the founding of the town of Petah Tikva).

Secular reading of Holy books[edit]

After writing hundreds of poems, Taharlev dedicated himself to reading and writing about traditional Jewishbooks and writings.

Taharlev: "I am reading the holy texts with secular eyes". He wrote several books, in which, he reviewed and analyzed Jewish texts.

Taharlev labels this works as: "a fresh and humoristic look at the holy and traditional Jewish books and writings".

His interpretations are highly regarded by both secular and religious communities. His book, Al Birkey Avot" (perush to 'Pirkey Avot') was among the biggest sellers in 2016.

His book Simchat Tora – is a humoristic commentary of all the 'torah portions of the week'.

"Tharlev's has a considerable successes in bringing closer to the Jewish tradition, people who are draw back, from everything which is seems to be religious and traditional".[1]

Taharlev exposed them to the beauty and the brilliance of it. His slogan is "learn with joy and smile"!

He stated "If the religious and traditional books were being conveying to us in such way and a smile, we could find out much more about our roots and we wouldn’t be so detached from them".

Israeli Prize laureate Eliyahu Ha'Cohen said, "although being born in a kibbutz and a main lyricist of the army bands and pop songs, Taharlev drowns a lot of his motives and inspiration from the bible; he is the most 'Jewish' among the Israeli lyricists".


During the agriculture Jewish Biblical holidays, the National memorial ceremonies, weddings and the earth reserving battles, his songs are played.

"Go and walkabout the country", became the slogan of the Nature reserve associations, "Be my friend, be my brother" is sang at every memorial, "Ammunitions Hill" became a symbol of Independence day ceremonies, the "Green mountain" (about the Carmel mountain where Taharlev was born) is a symbol of the Tu be’Svat holiday (the trees holiday). This song is the most popular among Israeli children, though, they omit the last heart-breaking lines in which Taharlev describes bringing back to the mountain a fallen comrade who, like him, was born there.

The song "By His Hands He Will Bring" (Hebrew: על כפיו יביא Al Kapav Yavi) sung by Rivka Zohar, was written after an encounter with an unemployed carpenter, in a poor neighbourhood, who was sitting in his empty workshop with the hope of building a chair for the prophet Elijah who would come and redeem him from his troubles. His song "Hora" (Hebrew: הורה), sung by Avi Toledano, won second place at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1982.

Many of Taharlev's songs were written from his childhood experiences in kibbutz Yagur among which are "The Mountain Which is Always Green" (Hebrew: ההר הירוק תמיד HaHar HaYarok Tamid) written about Mount Carmel near Yagur, "Four in the Afternoon" (Hebrew: ארבע אחר הצהריים Arba Ahar HaTzhorhayim) about life in the kibbutz, "In The Grove Near The Trough" (Hebrew: בפרדס ליד השוקת BaPardes LeYad HaShoket) written about the tree groves where he worked and often came to for solitude, and "Shadow And Well Water" (Hebrew: צלומי באר Tzel Ve Mei Beer) about an event from 1945 during which a group of immigrants were brought to Yagur after their release from a detention camp in Atlit to hide from the British. In the song he wrote "He whose hut has fallen dormant will walk through the door and may forever stay".

His songs were composed by many Israeli composers among which are Moshe Vilenski, Nachum Hayman, Nurit Hirsh, Matti Caspi, Moni Amerillio, Shalom Hanoch and Efy Netzer. The first to compose with him was Nachum Hayman from Beit Alpha to whom Taharlev sent the lyrics of the song "You, Me and the Wind" (Hebrew: את ואני והרוח At Ve Ani Ve HaRuach). The song was performed by the singing group The Parvarim (The Suburbs).

Taharlev had a special connection with composer Yair Rosenblum and together they produced many hits for Israeli Army bands among which are "There Are Some Girls" (Hebrew: ישנן בנות Yeshnan Banot), "Be My Friend, Be My Brother" (Hebrew: היה לי חבר היה לי אח Heye li Haver Heye li Ach), "Ammunition Hill" (Hebrew: גבעת התחמושת Givat HaTachmoshet), "Song of the Paratrooper" (Hebrew: שירו של צנחן Shiro Shel Tzanhan) and "No Way Back" (Hebrew: אין כבר דרך חזרה Ein Kvar Derech Hazara). Many other songs written for the army bands were humorous songs such as "Hasake" (Hebrew: חסקה), "He Isn't So Smart" (Hebrew: הוא לא כל כך חכם Hu Lo Kol Kach Haham), "The Chaperone" (Hebrew: המלווה HaMelave), "Yideshe Piratan" and "Dying (To See Her Tonight)" (Hebrew: אני מת לראות אותה הלילה Ani Met Lirot Ota Halayla), patriotic songs such as "An Angel From Jacob's Ladder" (Hebrew: מלאך מסולם יעקב Malach MeSulam Yaacov), "All Your Wonders Have Not Ceased" (Hebrew: עוד לא תמו כל פלאייך Od Lo Tamu Kol Pla'ayich), "Get Up And Tour The Country" (Hebrew: קום והתהלך בארץ Kum Ve Hithalech BaAretz), "To the Nahal" (Hebrew: אל הנח"ל El HaNahal), "Accordion Player" (Hebrew: נגן אקורדיון "Nagan Accordion)", "Ben-Gurion" (Hebrew: בן-גוריון) and more. "Another collaboration of the two is "It Is Time" (Hebrew: זה הזמן Ze HaZman) which was sung by Nira Gal.

Many of his songs were composed in the pop and rock genres such as "You Can't" (Hebrew: אינך יכולה Einech Yechola) performed by The High Windows, "Ya'ale Ve Yavo" performed by Gidi Gov and "Electricity Flows Through Your Hands" (Hebrew: חשמל זורם בכפות ידייך Hashmal Zorem BeKapot Yadecha) sung by Ruti Navon. Among other performers of his songs are Yoram Gaon, Hava Alberstein, Yardena Arazi, The Yarkon Bridge Trio, The Parvarim, The Dudaim, Edna Lev, The Hamtzitzim, Ilanit, Boaz Sharabi, Ilana Robina, Matti Caspi and The Boots Band.

Taharlev wrote many children's songs for the Israeli Children Songs Festival such as "My Family" (Hebrew: המשפחה שלי HaMishpacha Sheli) for Shlomo Nitzan, "Barba'aba" and "Mr. Apchi" for Tzipi Shavit, "We Won't Stop" (Hebrew: לא נעצור Lo Naatzor) and "Come Back Romance" (Hebrew: שובי רומנטיקה Shuvi Romantica) sung by Yardena Arazi and "Donald Duck" by Mike Burstein. "The Way to the Village" (Hebrew: הדרך אל הכפר HaDerech El HaKfar) was written for Rivka Zohar based on her life from childhood until her return to Israel after a harsh drug ordeal in the United States. The song was composed by Nurit Hirsh for the Festigal in 1985 where it won first place. A year later, Taharlev and Hirsh wrote "Piece of Heaven (God's Plot)" (Hebrew: חלקת אלוהים Helkat Elohim) which was also performed by Zohar and won first place.

Taharlev was awarded a lifetime achievement award for Hebrew poetry by the president of Bar-Ilan University as one of the most potent lyricists of in Hebrew poetry and that he is a meaningful contributor to the renewed culture of Israeli song.[2]

In 2016, at the Haifa Children's Theatre Festival, "The First Kiss" (Hebrew: הנשיקה הראשונה HaNeshika HaRishona) based on Taharlev's earlier works, won first place in the youth category. Taharlev was also awarded a token of recognition by the Haifa Theatre Company.

Personal life[edit]

In 1963, Taharlev met poet Nurit Zarchi while they were philosophy majors at Tel Aviv University. In August 1963, they married. They had two daughters, artist Roni Taharlev and Arela. At the beginning, Taharlev and Zarchi lived in kibbutz Yagur, where their eldest daughter Roni was born, but later moved to Petah Tikva and from there to Rishon LeZion and eventually to Tel Aviv. After thirteen years of marriage, they separated. In 1978, Taharlev then married Linda, a United States citizen. Together they had a son, Daniel, and a daughter, Michal. Linda passed away in 2011. In 2014 he married a third time, to Batia Keinan, an ex-spokesperson for President Ezer Weizman.


A statue in the town of Petah Tikva with lyrics from The Ballad of Yoel Moshe Salomon engraved on it

A public square was named in his honor in the town of Or Yehuda. His songs are engraved in monuments throughout Israel including Petah Tikva and Jerusalem.


  • 2005 – Get Up and Tour the Country
  • 2008 – No Way Back – 4-CD set

External links[edit]

  • Official website
  • Taharlev, Yoram (April 10, 2009). "בוא שיר עברי זוהר בדשא". Haaretz (in Hebrew). Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  • Ely Eshed, Songs by Yoram Taharlev
  • "ימי תרבות 2014: יורם טהרלב בטור מיוחד על הכותבים שהכי השפיעו עליו" (in Hebrew). Walla!. August 21, 2014. Retrieved January 12, 2017.


  1. ^ Prof. Yona Shamir
  2. ^ Zohar, Anat (May 25, 2008). "מכל הלב" (in Hebrew). Nana10. Retrieved January 12, 2017.