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November 11, 2016 12:32 pm

Netanyahu: I Will Never Forget How Leonard Cohen Came to Israel During Yom Kippur War to Sing to IDF Troops Out of Deep Feeling of Partnership

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The late Leonard Cohen sings to IDF troops in the Sinai Peninsula during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Photo: Twitter.

The late Leonard Cohen performs for IDF troops in the Sinai Peninsula during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Photo: Twitter.

Tributes rolled in from around the world — including Israel — following the death in Los Angeles earlier this week of 82-year-old Canadian Jewish singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen.

“Leonard Cohen was a great creator, a talented artist, and a warm Jew, who loved the people of Israel and the state of Israel,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. “I will not forget how he came to Israel during the Yom Kippur War in order to sing to IDF soldiers, out of a deep feeling of partnership. His touching voice will continue to accompany us, like his prayer ‘Hallelujah.’ May his memory be a blessing.”

In a Facebook post, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and his wife Nechema wrote, “This morning we looked at each other and thought the same thoughts: ‘Dance Me to the End of Love’ was the soundtrack to so many moments in our life as a couple and as a family. It added, like so many of his songs, a spirit and depth of emotion into our everyday lives. How sad to part from this man whose voice and face accompanied us for so many years. A giant of a creator, open to all people, who also knew how to accompany the State of Israel in the fields of battle and in times of growth.”

Furthermore, the Rivlins noted, Cohen “never thought to change his obviously Jewish name…seeking recognition from no one. This was a man who knew how, with one line in his notebook, to lead and shape the world of man more than any speech ever written. Leonard Cohen will continue to dance beside us to the end of love. Thank you for what you left us.”

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Israeli Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog said on Twitter that Cohen was “a giant of an artist and creator. His voice sought peace and justice and his death symbolizes, perhaps more than anything else, the major changes that we experienced in the world this week. May his memory be a blessing.”

In Cohen’s native Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau remarked, “A most remarkable Montrealer, Leonard Cohen managed to reach the highest of artistic achievement, both as an acclaimed poet and a world-renowned singer-songwriter. He will be fondly remembered for his gruff vocals, his self-deprecating humor and the haunting lyrics that made his songs the perennial favorite of so many generations… Leonard Cohen is as relevant today as he was in the 1960s. His ability to conjure the vast array of human emotion made him one of the most influential and enduring musicians ever. His style transcended the vagaries of fashion… Leonard, no other artist’s poetry and music felt or sounded quite like yours. We’ll miss you.”

A message posted on Cohen’s official Facebook page on Thursday said, “We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries. A memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date. The family requests privacy during their time of grief.”

Known for his stirring and soulful poetry, Cohen was born in Canada and later moved to California. Throughout his career of more than four decades he released 12 studio albums and wrote dozens of songs including his most famous “Hallelujah.”

His most recent release, “You Want it Darker,” included the lyrics, “Hineni (here I am), I’m ready my Lord.”

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