Breaking with tradition President Reuven Rivlin will honor Naomi Polani, 90, one of the legends of Israel’s entertainment industry, during a ceremony normally devoted solely to awarding IDF personnel on Independence Day. At various times in her long career, Polani has been a choreographer, musical director, theater director, singer, producer and actress.

Some of the people she trained went on to become big names in their respective fields.

Over the past year, both before and after her milestone birthday last August, Polani has been the subject of several tributes. Now Rivlin, a great fan of hers, has decided to give the President’s Award to the new nonagenarian on Israel’s 70th anniversary of Independence.

He telephoned her on Sunday to notify her of the honor. At Polani’s request, the IDF entertainment troupe will sing her classic song “Ein k’var derech hazara” (“There is no longer any way back”) and the highlights of her life will be read out.

In his conversation with her, the president expressed his hope that the state of her health would allow her to attend the event and ascend the stage.

Rivlin told Polani that he had asked the people responsible for organizing the ceremony at The President’s Residence to allow him to honor her on this special day.

He added that he had long wanted to officially convey to her the appreciation of the nation for her immeasurable contribution to Israeli culture. He thought that perhaps this year, with the help of the “wonderful IDF entertainment troupe,” he would be able to do so. Not only does it seem like his wish will be fulfilled, but, better still, all of Israel will be watching – because the ceremony is to be broadcast live on all TV channels.

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