Yossi Banai, an Israeli cultural icon, died May 11 at age 74. Banai was buried at Kibbutz Givat Hashlosha last Friday. He was a member of Israel’s leading entertainment family and was a giant of the Israeli stage and recording business. Banai was best known for the melancholy nostalgia of his songs in the style of French raconteurs, often describing his childhood in Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda neighborhood. His greatest hit was his interpretation of Naomi Shemer’s “Al Kol Eleh,” “For All These Things,” a paean to the land of Israel written after the 1982 withdrawal from Sinai. “The State of Israel has lost one of its cultural greats,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said. “Yossi Banai embodied multidisciplinary talent in characters, plays, satire, film and song.”
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