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Naomi Shemer

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Women in Israeli Music

The arrival in pre- and post-state Israel of Jewish immigrants from Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa resulted in a culturally diverse proliferation of music, much of which involved performance and composition by Jewish women. Jewish women have also contributed significantly to the development of music education and music scholarship, being involved in music studies publications and projects as well as the development of music education institutions.

Jewish Women in Contemporary Popular Music: 1950 to Present

Since 1950, Jewish women musicians have moved with the times, performing with bands, as solo acts, and as songwriters. They have included mainstream pop performers and rock, punk, and Riot Grrrl musicians. Some Israeli artists have reached international audiences, often via the Europvision Song Contest.

Yaffa Yarkoni

Yaffa Yarkoni was a talented and influential Israeli singer who recorded over 1,400 songs throughout her career. Known for her deep and throaty voice, her music spanned an impressive array of styles and rhythms and marked a shift in Israeli popular music.

Naomi Shemer

Naomi Shemer was a prolific singer and composer who built a unified Israeli cultural consciousness through her beautiful melodies. From the 1950s to the 1990s, Shemer wrote music that was performed throughout the country, including “Jerusalem of Gold” and “Lu Yehi.” In 1983, she was awarded the Israel Prize, and she continued to write new music until her death in 2004.

Shuly Nathan

Shuly Nathan’s clear and melodious voice represents some of the best qualities of true folk singing. After a meteoric rise to fame following her performance of Naomi Shemer’s “Jerusalem of Gold,” Nathan has toured worldwide, performed on Israeli television and radio, recorded albums, and partnered with Nechama Hendel. Her beloved varied repertoire consists of carefully selected outstanding songs, both old and new.

Music: Palestine and Israel

Music in Israel is a giant mosaic of cultures, styles, and musical traditions from the region and around the world. In every way and at all times, especially since the establishment of the state, women have been active in and have left their mark on the country’s musical life.

Nechama Hendel

Nechama Hendel is considered one of the foremost singers Israel has ever produced, known for her performances of Jewish folk music, her adaptations of well-known Israeli songs, and her album dedicated entirely to lyrics by the national poet Hayyim Nahman Bialik set to folk tunes and composed melodies. Hendel had an international following and toured the world performing, but she consistently returned to live in Israel and was devoted to Jewish music. 

Hebrew Song, 1880-2020

Hebrew song as a whole, including songs of Erez Israel and the State of Israel, is a unique socio-cultural phenomenon that has developed over time. The dawning of Hebrew song can be traced to the period between 1880 and 1903, and it has grown to reflect the diverse aspects of Israeli society since then. The contribution of women to Hebrew songs, in general, has risen steadily over the years. 


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