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Israelis You Should Know: Nachum Heiman

Israel is known for the brave leaders it has produced, as well as the savvy minds in the world of technology. However, we love to be reminded that the Holy Land has given us wonderful artists, as well. The Times of Israel remembers one of these artists, composer and folk musician Nachum Heiman, who passed away last week. And enjoy one of his beautiful pieces, "La Petite Fugue," above.

Heiman was born in Riga, Latvia, in 1934 and immigrated to British Mandate Palestine with his family when he was five. He grew up in Tel Aviv and in the nearby kibbutzim of Naan and Kfar Maccabi. During his army service, Heiman often put on music and dance productions, and was known to entertain the soldiers in the Nahal Brigade with his accordion.

In his decades-long career, Heiman released 40 albums, composed over 1,000 songs, including the hits “Kmo Tzemach Bar,” “Hofim,” “Anshei Hageshem,” and “Hahol Yizkor.”

Heiman fostered a number of Israeli folk singers and groups over the years, and composed music for more than 120 movies and TV shows in the 1980s and 90s.

In 2006, Heiman founded the Hebrew Song Heritage Association, a nonprofit organization devoted to archiving and preserving Israel’s musical heritage.

In 2009, Heiman was awarded the prestigious Israel Prize for his contributions to Hebrew music...

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called him “one of the greatest songwriters the State of Israel has had.”

“The songs that he left behind have planted in our hearts the love of the homeland and people and will accompany Israel for generations to come — like a wildflower,” Netanyahu said referring to one of Heiman’s most famous works, “Kmo Tzemach Bar,” sung by Chava Alberstein.

President Reuven Rivlin said Heiman was “a man who knew how to compose all our emotions. He composed the Israeli tune for earth, nature, the Israeli sun, to the stalks, the sea, and the accordion that appeared to be created for him.”

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