Naomi Shermer was long known as the first lady of Israeli song and poetry, and most famous for writing the beloved song, "Jerusalem of Gold," which became the country's second national anthem after the reunification of Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War. But, as The Jerusalem Post's Lahav Harkov tells us, Shermer was inspired by the Fab Four when she penned another inspiring song for Israel's 1973 Yom Kippur War:
In the summer of 1973, Israeli songwriter Naomi Shemer, best known for writing “Jerusalem of Gold,” set out to write a Hebrew cover of the Beatles’ classic “Let it Be,” which frequently played on Israeli radio.
But when the Yom Kippur War broke out that October, the Beatles’ hit became what Shemer later called “a jumping-off point for an entirely new song.”
Shemer changed the lyrics to a prayer expressing hope for the battles to end and for IDF soldiers to return home peacefully.
The lyrics express longing for a better future, even when everything looks dark: “There is still a white sail on the horizon, facing a heavy black cloud.”
Shemer wrote the song for singer Chava Alberstein, who had wanted to perform it at an event for pilots’ wives.
“The Hebrew version that I prepared for her had no connection to the original, but was about the concerns and fears of the war that had broken out a day or two earlier,” Shemer later wrote of the songwriting process.
At first, she kept the Beatles’ tune, but her husband, Mordechai Horowitz, on a reprieve from fighting in the war said: “I won’t let you waste this song on a foreign tune. This is a Jewish war, and you should give it a Jewish tune...”