“Voice of Israel”: Arik Einstein is Born

On this day in 1939, legendary Israeli singer, songwriter, actor, and comedian Arik Einstein was born in Tel Aviv. Widely recognized as the “Voice of Israel,” Einstein is revered as a pioneer of Israeli rock and remains the most influential and beloved Israeli artist of all time. His remarkable career spanned over 50 years, yielding more than 500 songs and 34 albums. Einstein’s legacy continues to be a vital part of Israeli culture. Tragically, he passed away on November 26, 2013, at the age of 74 due to an aortic aneurysm, leaving the nation in mourning as his music played nonstop on the radio for 48 hours.

Born Arieh Lieb Einstein, he was the only child raised in Tel Aviv. His father, Ya’akov, an actor at the Ohel Theater, likely inspired Arik’s later pursuits. Arik also played basketball in his youth, including a stint with Hapoel Tel Aviv B.C., and maintained a lifelong interest in sports and sports trivia.

At 18, Arik joined the IDF and, encouraged by his father, became part of the army band in the Nahal Brigade. His unique voice soon emerged as a standout solo talent.

After his army service, Einstein joined the band Batzel Yarok (The Green Onion) and released his first solo album in 1960 under the pseudonym “Ari Goren”. In 1964, he showcased his acting skills in the classic Israeli comedy film “Sallah Shabbati,” alongside Chaim Topol. The film humorously critiqued Israeli archetypes and government actions in the early State years.

In 1966, Arik joined “The High Windows” with Shmulik Kraus and Josie Katz. Their 1967 album brought him fame not only in Israel but also in Western Europe, especially France. However, he soon left the group, feeling that European audiences couldn’t fully appreciate the Hebrew lyrics.

In 1969, Einstein collaborated with the Churchills to produce ‘Poozy,’ considered the first Israeli rock album. His 1973 project “Eretz Israel Hayeshana Vehatova” (The Old and Good Land of Israel) was a tribute to early 20th-century Hebrew songs.

During the 1970s, Einstein also participated in the comedy sketch show “Lool” (Chicken Coop) and its film adaptation “Shablool” (Snail). His collaboration album “Snail” with Shalom Hanoch is regarded as one of the greatest Israeli rock albums.

In the early 1980s, Arik took a break from live performances, preferring studio work. Known for his humility, he often collaborated with younger, less-known artists rather than established names.

“You and I will change the world / You and I, then they’ll all follow / They’ve said it before, but that doesn’t matter / You and I will change the world.”

“Fly little bird / slice the sky / fly wherever you want / just don’t forget / there’s an eagle in the sky / be careful…”

— English translation of excerpts from “Ani Ve-Atah” and “UF Gozal” by Arik Einstein.

On November 26, 2013, the beloved “Voice of Israel,” Arik Einstein, passed away. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described him as the “soundtrack of Israel.” His funeral was attended by tens of thousands, mourning a national treasure.

Discover Arik Einstein’s music on Spotify and other streaming platforms. Take a moment today to honor his legacy.

Arik Einstein on Spotify

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