Today (Sunday), a street naming ceremony was held in Tel Aviv in memory of the late Harifai on the banks of the Yarkon River, in the presence of Mayor Ron Huldai and with the participation of Harifai's daughter, Aya Granit-Sheba and her grandchildren Yali and Yotam Granit-Sheba.
Zahrira Harifai was the recipient of the Israel Prize in 2003. For more than 50 years she was a theater and film actress, appearing in dozens of plays and films. She died of cancer on January 2, 2013 and was laid to rest at Givat Hashlosha Cemetery. She was married to journalist and writer Shlomo Sheba.
"Zahrira was a force of nature. Every character who played in the theater or cinema was so powerful, so real, so precise, that she would sit down in the chest and stay there for days. No wonder there came a point when she not only played wonderful roles, but also played roles written especially for her," Huldai said.
Huldai with Harifai's family, photo: Kfir Sivan
Later he added: "It's strange to say this, but it seems that the role of her life was off stage and screen, right here, in Yarkon. At the age of 30, with a moment's decision and iron mind and body, Zahrira – an outstanding swimmer – jumped into the Yarkon River and saved the life of a woman who was about to drown. This larger-than-life story is etched in the annals of the Yarkon River and the bridge over it, and of the entire city. From now on, everyone who passes through it will be able to bear her name on their lips."
The decision to name the street after Harifai is part of the municipal policy of affirmative action and giving priority to women and their presence in the public space. In the past year, several streets have been named after women artists, artists, intellectuals and cultural figures, including: Deborah Omer, Hannah Maron, Jacqueline Kahanov, Bracha Tzipira, Rachel Cohen Kagan, Ada Maimon, Batya Lishansky and more. In addition, schools were named after Ofra Haza, Yaffa Yarkoni and Shoshana Damari, and in 2024, an arts school named after artist and creator Ronit Elkabetz will also open in the Kfar Shalem neighborhood.
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