November 26, 2013
Arik Einstein, one of Israel’s most beloved singers and songwriters, dies of an aortic aneurysm in Tel Aviv at age 74. The national outpouring of grief includes a gathering of thousands of fans the next day at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv. “His songs accompanied us at all the stations of our lives — in our loves and disappointments, our ups and downs,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says at the ceremony.
Einstein was known for his blend of folk and rock music. He was a driving force in the development of Israeli rock music and appealed to a wide swath of the nation’s population. He recorded about 50 albums and collaborated with many other artists. His rendition of “Cry for You” gained significance after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. His other popular songs included “Me and You” and “Fly, Baby Bird.” The newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth in 2012 called him the best Israeli singer of all time.
Einstein was born Jan. 3, 1939, in Tel Aviv and became Israel’s high jump champion in high school. His father, Ya’akov, was an actor and a big supporter of his music, including encouraging him to audition for the IDF’s entertainment corps in the Nahal Brigade during his military service. He married three times, twice to Alona Shochet, and had four children. He stopped performing in public in the 1980s after a car accident but kept recording music, and only a month before his death, he agreed to write a weekly column for the newspaper Maariv.