MembersYearning for Israel’s Modern Golden Years

I met artist Avi Yair (57) at the small and enchanting Zadik art gallery in the old Greek section of Jaffa.

By Tsvi Sadan |
Photo: Tsvi Sadan

What drew me to his exhibit was its title, “Believe the Day Will Come,” a line taken from a well-known song written by Raphael Klachkin in 1948, during the War of Independence. Renowned singer Yafa Yarkoni first performed it for soldiers en-route to battle. At the time, the song was perceived as expressing deep yearning for a post-war Israel that would at last be free to build the utopian Jewish society envisioned by the early Zionists. For Yair, this vision was his reality during the 1950s and 1960s. These were the golden years he hopes to see return.


His works, however, seem to express unresolved tension between his yearning for Israel’s golden years and his rejection of any kind of indoctrination. As he walks me through the exhibit, he operates one of several small mechanical music boxes producing the soft tunes of other well-known songs of that era. One such lullaby is Bab El Wad, a song lamenting the soldiers who fell in the battle for Jerusalem. “Can you imagine that this was...

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