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Ofra Haza

(1957 - 2000)

Ofra Haza was an Israeli singer, actress, and international recording artist.

Haza was born on November 19, 1957, the youngest of nine children in a Yemenite family that lived in Tel Aviv. Haza’s singing talent was first recognized in the children’s theater group she joined at 12.

She earned roles as a soloist in the 1970s, and after that, her professional career as a singer of popular music was launched. Haza represented Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest and achieved extensive international acclaim as a recording artist. In 1992, Ofra’s album Kirya was nominated for the Grammy Awards for the best album in the World Beat category, and two years later, she performed at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo at the request of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Perhaps her biggest break in terms of exposure to an American audience occurred when she was featured on the soundtrack of the animated film The Prince of Egypt.

On February 23, 2000, Haza suddenly died of massive organ failure at the age of 42. In 2005, Haza was voted the 32nd-greatest Israeli of all time in an online poll sponsored by an Israeli newspaper.

Sources: Joint Authority for Jewish Zionist Education.
Ofra Haza, Wikipedia.

Photo: Yaakov Saar / GPO Israel, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.