Bob Dylan performs in Israel again

Bob Dylan performs in Israel again

Okay, I can’t resist. On Monday night I’m going to see Dylan, for the 3rd time in Israel. It’s either three strikes and you’re out as they said back in the old country, or as they say in Israel — pa’am shlesheet, glidah (third time, ice cream).

The first time, in Park Hayarkon in 1987 was a disaster. Dylan was in a totally non-communicative mode, and the only saving grace was the opening set by Byrds lead singer Roger McGuinn, and the second set by his relatively unknown at the time backup band, none other than Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, who were more Dylan than Dylan himself. The second time was in ’93 in Heichal Hatarbut in Tel Aviv, when he compensated for the first time.

Now comes the big challenge of competing with Leonard Cohen’s triumphant concert in the same Ramat Gan national soccer/football stadium a year and a half ago. So, in honor of the occasion, here’s a collage of my personal choice of some of his best songs. I really don’t know most of his more recent post-mid ’70s work, so if anyone can enlighten me on that, please do. Incidentally, it’s very hard to find Dylan versions of his songs on You Tube, because of some copyright issue. The list is not in any particular order:
The song which introduced most people to Dylan, though I was one of the 5,000 people who bought his first LP a year before. The Dylan song that I have sung most often, including at my son Adi’s bar mitzvah and at Lee Perlman’s 50th birthday, fittingly at the Arab-Hebrew Theater in Jaffa. Nava & I sang it at on Kibbutz Barkai soon after we arrived at an erev shabbat the night that Kennedy was assassinated. As far as I know it was the first ever public performance in Israel of the song, though folk singer Judy Silver told me that she also performed the song the same night at Kibbutz Beit Alpha.

Aviv Gefen’s Hebrew version of Hard Rain, frequently played at Israeli peace rallies, I believe translated by his father Yehonatan Gefen.

One of the most powerful anti-war songs, ever. Echoes of President Eisenhower’s warning against the military-industrial complex.
Ah yes, visions of the 60s.
Wonderful, enduring statement/song
The ultimate rebellion
Has a lot of personal meaning for me.
His greatest song, maybe
And to think that he was only 21 when he wrote this.
The ultimate 60s experience song, fascinating version from the movie in the episode where Kate Blanchett plays Dylan.
Dylan and Harrison – I actually performed this song at the old Tzavta Club on Mapu Street during my pre-Yom Kippur War singing career
Ranked the number one guitarist on the 100 best guitarists marathon on 88 FM on Shavuot, the tremendous Hendrix version of the song.
Wow – sounds like Jagger, but it isn’t.
Yes, we were all so much older then, we’re younger than that now.
Great, powerful version. According to Dylan’s book Chronicles – the song is inspired by Lotte Lenya’s singing of Pirate Jenny in the Brecht on Brecht show in the Village, which I remember seeing as well.
I used to sing this one to someone, and she didn’t like it. For some reason, I considered it a companion piece to See Saw by the Moonglows. She didn’t like that either.
His greatest song (personal taste), maybe.
Funky early Dylan from the Band’s final performance, Scorcese’s Last Waltz
Easy Rider, as Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda alias Captain America head off to their inevitable date with doom.
There is still hope. Around 64/65 Nava & I formed a trio with Uri Dagan to sing this at the regional May lst celebration at Kibbutz Gan Shmuel. Vedder, lead singer of Pearl Jam does a beautiful version, though I can do without the call to vote Ralph at the end. 
Stream of conciousness/surrealism, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. Who is Allan Ginsburg talking to in the left hand corner?
Had to include it – ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as the top Rock song of all time.
Hillel Schenker

Palestine-Israel Journal
POBox 19839, Jerusalem

By | 2011-06-20T14:17:00-04:00 June 20th, 2011|Blog|2 Comments


  1. Anonymous June 21, 2011 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    Hope you had fun; my dad was unable to go while he was there.

  2. Ron Skolnik June 24, 2011 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    What do you think of J.J. Goldberg’s critique (Fighting Off Israeli Isolation With a Dose of Bob Dylan and Shakira) – his critique of the concert, and of the Israeli critiques of the concert. It’s at

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