This song was written 20 years after the 1973 Yom Kippur War and was first released in 1994. Every time I hear the song, something moves inside me – yes, it moves me to the point of tears. “If there is a song that touches me and brings me to tears, it is this song,” my wife Anat always says.
I thought about translating this song for you because the lyrics describe deep feelings among the people that appeal to every generation. It was important to me that you get to know this song and the lyrics this week.
The author of the song, Shmuel Hasfari, was a soldier himself in the Yom Kippur War and lost his best friend Yoram Weiss in the fighting at the Suez Canal. Hasafri released the song the year Israel signed the Oslo Accords with the PLO, which raised hopes for peace that were ultimately shattered by serious terrorist attacks. When this song was first sung to assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Hasfari told the singers to look Rabin directly in the eyes during the song. I still remember, it was on Independence Day. The song was controversial for a while and was initially met with mixed feelings. Because we all want our children to no longer have to go into the army. I also vowed in my heart that my children wouldn’t have to carry weapons or wear helmets.
The song is a monologue by children who were born after the Yom Kippur War and are now adults, drafted into the army, and confronting their parents. The children reproach their parents for promising the “Dove of Peace” when they were born, but when they reach military age, they too must fight. They endure the mission patiently, but ask their parents to renew the promise.
The song expresses the great pain in the country after the war, which has not been forgotten over the years. Especially when babies who grew up in the shadow of war now have to protect the country like their fathers, absent the long-awaited peace. The phrase “keeping your promise” in the song refers to hope and an unwritten promise in Israeli society for peace.
Video: “We are the children of the winter of ’73”
A new interpretation with the singers of the 1994 IDF Education Unit ensemble, together with orphans of the Yom Kippur War. First read the translation of the song and then watch the video.
We are the children of the winter of ’73, you first dreamed of us at dawn after the end of the battles.
You were tired men thankful for your happiness, you were young and fearful women who only wanted to love.
And when you carried us, pregnant with love, in the winter of ’73, you wanted to fill with yourself with something that the war had taken from you.
When we were born the land was wounded and sad. You looked at us, hugged us and tried to find comfort.
When we were born, the elders blessed us with tears in their eyes and said we hope these children don’t go into the army anymore.
And the faces in the old photos prove that you spoke from the heart, because you promised to do everything for us, to turn the enemy into a friend.
You promised a dove, an olive branch, you promised us peace at home. You promised spring and blooming, you promised to keep promises, you promised us a dove.
We are the children of the winter of ’73, we have grown, now we are in the army with the weapon and the helmet on our heads.
We also know about love and how to laugh and cry. We too are men, we too are women, we too dream of babies.
So we won’t push, demand or threaten, but when we were little you told us that promises should be kept.
If you need strength, we’ll give it to you, we won’t save money, but we just want to whisper to you that we are the children of the winter of ’73.
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