Saturday, April 16, 2005

Ehud Manor, who was laid to rest on Wednesday with thousands of people attending his funeral, was not only a prolific and very talented lyricist, he also translated many works into Hebrew. He represented a kind of quintessential Israeliness that is rarely found in one person. That is probably one of the reasons why he appealed to so many. It is typical that his song "I have no other country" ( Eyn li Erets Aheret ) was embraced by - and sung at rallies of - rightwing and leftwing Zionists alike ( Manor himself admitted that he himself belonged to the left side of Israel's political spectrum, but that when rereading the lyrics of the song he understood why it contains something for every Zionist ). An example of his being so Israeli and so much down-to-earth is the following anecdote, which I found here. " 'Abanibi' as performed by [ Yizhar ] Cohen [ lyrics by Ehud Manor, music by Nurit Hirsch ] placed first in the Eurovision contest in Paris in 1978. Manor used to tell about how he did not believe that the song, which has an African-sounding melody, would win a European competition. But once the points were tallied, with the `douze points' racking up, he started to think about the sandals on his feet, the simple T-shirt he was wearing and about how he couldn't get on the stage looking like this.Sitting alongside him was Yoram Rosenfeld, Nurit Hirsch's husband, who had a similar build and was wearing a brown corduroy suit. The two men exchanged clothes in the middle of the auditorium." On Thursday I read an article describing the funeral, and one very good piece by Uri Klein, in which he raises some questions about 'about proportionality and standards, and about opportunism and exploitation in politics, nationalism and TV': " ...there was something a bit too hasty and mechanical about the way in which Ehud Manor, a few short hours after his death, was appropriated, changed from being a unique and private person, a husband, father, friend and artist, and turned into a symbol of the state and national unity. [...] Many of those who discussed his oeuvre during the past 48 hours noted that he had introduced the word "I" into Hebrew songs instead of the "we" that had been the norm before. But Ehud Manor himself was transformed from "I" into "we" too quickly after his death. The idea that his works should be included in the school syllabus (*) was also mooted too soon. If he deserved it, why wait for his death?". (*) "Education Ministry director general Ronit Tirosh yesterday instructed the nation's schools to hold activities in memory of Manor. The memo to teachers suggests reading parts of Education Minister Limor Livnat's eulogy (!) in their classes, as well as familiarizing students with his songs and various activities based on use of Manor lyrics to foster discussion."

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