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Haza, Ofra

(537 words)

Author(s): Amy Horowitz
Ofra Haza (1957–2000) was an Israeli singer who rose from poverty to international acclaim. Born in the Shkhunat ha-Tikva neighborhood of Tel Aviv, to traditional parents who had immigrated from Yemen to Mandatory Palestine in 1944, she grew up at the height of the struggle against ethnic discrimination on the part of Israeli Jews from the Islamic world. Haza began performing at neighborhood events as a child and at twelve was invited by the activist/producer Bezalel Aloni into his Hatikva Quarter Theater Workshop. In 1973, Haza’s Gaʿaguʿim (Longing) won first place in Israel’s h…

Argov, Zohar

(361 words)

Author(s): Amy Horowitz
Israeli singer Zohar Argov, born Zohar Orkabi in 1955, was the eldest of the ten children of  Yemenite immigrant parents and was raised in the Rishon Le-Ṣiyyon neighborhood of Shikkunei ha-Mizraḥ. Argov’s vocal talent was recognized in early childhood, and he performed at synagogue and neighborhood celebrations. Exempt from mandatory military service due to financial hardship, his lack of army experience, combined with his Middle Eastern heritage, branded him as an outsider to mainstream Israeli…

Sharabi, Boaz

(563 words)

Author(s): Amy Horowitz
Yemeni Israeli singer, songwriter, and drummer Boaz Sharabi was born in the Kerem Ha-Temanim neighborhood of Tel Aviv on May 28, 1947, one of the ten children of parents who had emigrated from Yemen. A prolific artist on the Israeli popular music scene for over forty years, he has collaborated with some of Israel’s top composers and written for mainstream singers and films across the ethnic spectrum. Sharabi began playing drums as a child and performed with the Karmon dance troupe during the 1960s. In 1971, he recorded an English-language version of his composition Pamela. The song was b…