Haim Hefer (1925-2012) was a lyricist, publicist, translator, journalist, playwright, and screenwriter. Born in Poland as Haim Feiner, he and his family immigrated to Palestine in the mid-1930s. Hefer was a member of the Palmach Jewish resistance organisation and during the 1948 War of Independence, started the musical ensemble The Chizbatron (which, to this day, is considered the country’s first military troupe.) Hefer was behind the vast majority of the band’s music, the majority of which became staples of the Israeli songbook. Three of the most famous songs include Those were the Days (‘Hayu Zmanim’), Indeed you Can (‘Hen Efshar’), and The Penny and the Moon (‘hapruta ve’hayareach’.)

During the 1950s and ‘60s, Hefer and his good friend Dahn Ben-Amotz were frequent collaborators and together wrote the book, A Bag of Fibs, and the hit play Little Tel Aviv. About the same time, the two opened Jaffa’s popular venue, The Hamam Club which, for the longest time was a home for countless artists who’d performed on its stage.

Hefer wrote countless tunes that have since been enshrined in Israeli society’s permanent soundtrack including The Roosters’ ‘It’s all Gold’ and ‘Neighbourhood Song’ (HaTarnegolim – ‘Hakol Zahav’, ‘Shir Hashchuna’); Arik Lavie’s ‘The Red Rock’ (‘HaSela HaAdom’); Yehoram Gaon’s ‘Here I Am’ (‘Hineni Kan’); Uri Zohar’s ‘Patent Song’ (‘Shir Hapatentim’) ; The Yarkon Bridge Trio’s ‘What a Lovely Day’ (‘Eize Yom Yafe’); The Theatre Club Quartet’s ‘No Place Like Jaffa by Night’ (‘Ein Kmo Yafo Baleilot’); Central Command Troupe’s ‘I Got me a Lover in Commando Unit ‘Cherub’ (Lehakat Pikud Merkaz – ‘Yesh li Ahuv Besayeret Charuv’); The Nahal Band’s ‘Dinah Barzilai,’; and The High Windows’ ‘Yehezkel’.

Between 1964-2003, Hefer had a regular column in Israeli daily newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth. All the while, he was also busy translating plays, writing books, and penning screenplays. Hefer co-wrote the script for A Stone for a Penny (1954) with Arie Lahola who directed the film. He and Menahem Golan then wrote the script for Tevye and his Seven Daughters (‘tuvia vesheva benotav’), Golan’s 1968 film that made the official selection for the Cannes Film Festival. Hefer also wrote all the voiceover narration for Alfred Steinhardt’s 1968 documentary, Six Days. He later wrote the script for Uri Zohar’s 1971 film, The Rooster.

In 1973, Hefer and Menahem Golan reunited as collaborators when they teamed up to write the script for the big screen adaptation of the hit stage musical, Kazablan. Golan’s film earned a Golden Globe Nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Hefer’s creative collaborations continued into the ‘80s when he co-wrote the script for Ilan Eldad’s The Megillah 83 (1983) which Eldad directed, and joined forces with director Nissim Dayan with whom he co-wrote Dayan’s film, On a Narrow Bridge (1985).

Hefer also made the documentary shorts Locomotive 70414, and Night Target (1963) which he co-directed with Uri Zohar.

In 1983 he was awarded the Israel Prize for his contributions to the Hebrew Songbook.


Ashdod 1961

Directed by Helga Keller, 1961
אשדוד 1961
English subs.

14 min.


Golda Meir Racalls Cooperation With Levi Eshkol in Histadrut

Directed by Reuven Morgan, 1969
גולדה מאיר על עבודתה עם לוי אשכול בהסתדרות


Shooting of Menachem Golans Film Tuvia and His Seven Daughters...

מסתיימים צילומי סרטו של מנחם גולן ״טוביה ושבע בנותיו״


Copyright Lawsit on Musical Kazablan

משפט זכויות יוצרים על המחזמר


The Play The Root of All Evil at the Hamam Theater

ההצגה שורש כל רע במועדון החמאם

1 min.


Senior Residents Watch Little Tel Aviv Play Which Reenacts the...

תושבים ותיקים צופים בהצגת תל אביב הקטנה המשחזרת רגעים מתולדות העיר


HaKatar Song (Lyrics by: Haim Hefer, Music by: Yohanan Zaray,...

שיר הקטר


Construction Works on Yarkon Negev Pipeline

Directed by Natan Gross, Yona Zaretsky, 1957
העבודות על קו המים ירקון נגב

3 min.


Night at the Frontline Settlement Nes Harim

Directed by Haim Hefer, Dahn Ben-Amotz, 1955
לילה ביישוב הספר נס הרים

1 min.


Palmach Meeting in Tel Aviv

Directed by Nathan Axelrod, 1949
כינוס אנשי פלמ"ח בתל אביב

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