Legendary Jewish musician Leonard Cohen passed away on Thursday at the age of 82. In Israel, his loss will be felt as deeply as anywhere, perhaps even more so.
“How sad to part from this man whose voice and face accompanied us for so many years. A giant of a creator, open to all people, who also knew how to accompany the State of Israel in the fields of battle and in times of growth,” Israel President Reuven Rivlin wrote on Facebook.
Cohen’s most notable visit to Israel came in 1973. He was performing in nearby Greece when the Yom Kippur War erupted and Arab armies came dangerously close to achieving their goal of pushing the Jews into the sea.
As Israel valiantly fought back, Cohen visited and put on an impromptu performance for frontline troops in the Sinai desert (pictured; Ariel Sharon is standing at Cohen’s right).
“I will never forget how he came during the Yom Kippur War to sing for our soldiers because he felt he was a partner,” tweeted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had returned from studying in the US to fight in his former commando unit for the duration of that war.