Netanyahu eulogizes Arik Einstein
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AFP
Netanyahu lays a flower on the coffin of Israeli singer Arik Einstein. November 27, 2013. Photo by AFP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joined the thousands of Israelis who converged in Tel Aviv Wednesday to mourn the passing of singer and actor Arik Einstein.

Here is the full text of the eulogy:

“On my way here I heard you sing. Arik, We love you so much. I love you very much. We all grew up on your songs. We laughed to tears from your comic skits. We were moved by your films. In a nation of great artists and great singers it isn’t easy to say this, but it’s true- you were the greatest of them all…The essence of the real, beautiful Israel.”

“I met Arik for the first time when I was 18, through a cousin of mine who was friends with Shmulik Kraus. An amazing band was performing in a tiny club in Tel Aviv. I heard the group, The High Windows (an Israeli pop group in the ‘60s consisting of Arik Einstein, Shmulik Kraus and Josie Katz) and saw Arik, tall and handsome, and heard his voice, that clear wonderful voice that penetrates the depths of our soul.”

“He was then 27 or 28 and already a significant figure in our cultural scene. From ‘Sallah Shabati’ (a 1964 satirical Israeli comedy) and The Yarkon Bridge Trio (a pop trio 1964-1966 whose vocalists were Einstein, Yehoram Gaon and Benny Amdursky) he continued to create and didn’t stop. His songs accompanied us in all the stations of our life, through loves and disappointments, ups and downs.”

“….The children knew Arik from ‘Mr. Shoko,’ and the grown-ups from ‘Mournful Melody’ and ‘Your Forehead Is Wreathed with Black Gold.’”

“You were a wonderful artist and no less important, a wonderful person. Your work is part of the Israeli people’s culture in its land and your work will continue living with us. It is still fresh and vibrant and will always be. In one of those wonderful songs you, the national singer, sang the words of the national poet (Haim Nahman Bialik): “They say there’s love in the world, what is love?” Arik, love is what we feel for you.”

“Thank you Arik Einstein, thank you for the abundance and the richness and the emotion you enriched our lives with. Farewell Arik.”