Singer and musical theater performer Racheli Haim is known to the Eurovision community as a member of the band Shiru, who represented Israel in the contest in 1993. She passed away last week at 66 after battling Alzheimer’s disease. Eurovision 1978 winner, Izhar Cohen, paid tribute at her memorial: “Racheli Haim, my dear, is gone. When I was Aladin, she was my princess, so she will always be. You won’t be forgotten”.

Born in 1957 in India to a family of Nepali and Yemeni Jewish heritage, Haim moved to Israel when she was six and was raised in Eilat. Her first public appearance was noted when she recorded a new version of the song “Umbrella for Two” for the 30th anniversary of Israel’s independence in 1978. During the 1980s, she performed in musical theater productions in the country and released multiple children’s songs.

She entered the Israeli National Final with her husband at the time, Benny Nadler, as a backing vocalist of the band Shiru. The band was made up to enter the selection, and on their very first attempt, they won the desirable ticket to the contest. That was primarily thanks to the popularity of lead singer Sarah’le Sharon, who had gained fame in Israel during those years. Their winning song was “Shiru”, which shares the same title as the band’s name and translates to “Sing” in English.

At the contest, they had the unfortunate coincidence of performing in the 24th spot, later placing in the 24th position (out of 25). With 4 points only, 3 from Portugal and 1 from France, that is the lowest position that Israel scored in a Eurovision final.

Despite divorcing Nadler, she kept working with him on joint projects and maintained good professional relations. She leaves behind her second husband, musician Alon Hilel, and their two children. We send our deepest regards to Rachel’s family and friends during this difficult time.

 

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