Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Middle East

Singer who spoke out against military dies at 86


Yaffa Yarkoni, a singer who belted out wartime songs only to become a critic of the Israeli military late in life, died yesterday aged 86. She had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease for many years.

Yarkoni, pictured, went from entertaining soldiers as a wartime songbird to criticising the military's treatment of Palestinians during their uprising in the last decade.

After chiding the military in 2002, Yarkoni found herself branded a traitor by soldiers' families, received death threats and had a gala tribute to her cancelled.

A group of artists held an alternative event to support her freedom of expression. The furore arose when she made comparisons between an Israeli military operation in the West Bank and the Holocaust.

"We went through the Holocaust. How can we do things like this to another nation?" she asked Israel's Army Radio.