Margalit Tsanani

Dafna Dekel

Dafna Dekel is an Israeli singer, actress and Tv host born in May 7th 1966 in the city of Ashdod, in the south of Israel. She was discovered while she served in the Israeli Army as a singer in the Nachal group through 1985 and1986 .Trying to "sell" her as a sex bomb, right after being signed Dekel's agent sent the somewhat chubby girl to go on a diet and have a plastic surgery to fix her nose. After losing 16 kelos and having her nose fixed, Dekel was marketed as Israel's newest star and became one of the country's most beautiful women of all time. At the time of her breakthrough Dafna was considered a Cinderella in the Israeli culture, being a Yemenite girl from the south making it in the army Nachal group and being discovered.

After being released from the army Dekel was cast to the Israeli musical Salah Shabati which was highly successful and was produced in honor of the 40th birthday of the country. Dekel was cast along with her band mate from the Nachal group, Reuven Lavi. The two were the stars of the Nachal at the time.

In 1989 she released her first self-titled album. Although the album had 4 songs written and/or composed by Dekel, her biggest hits were songs written for her by others. At the same year she participated in the 1989 children's holiday show "Festigal" with the song "Ma kore li?" (what's happening to me?) and also performed a Yemenite medley with other Yemenite Festigal participants such as Ofra Chaza and Margalit Tsanani..

Dekel turned down her agent's suggestion to participate in the 1992 Israeli "Kdam" (the Israeli pre-selection to the Eurovision song contest), but after being promised that she would not win the competition she agreed to sing "Ze rak sport" (it's just sports). The song, an uptempo samba-style piece, won the Kdam after all and Dafna, in spite her lack of motivation, went on to represent her country in Sweden, gaining 85 points and reaching 6th place. "Ze rak sport" became her biggest hit to date and one of Israel's most successful and memorable pop songs of all time. A few scandals occurred after the song was picked in the Kdam: the song was 3 minutes and 17 seconds long, 17 seconds too long for the Eurovision 3 minutes rule. Dafna's runner up in the Kdam sued the IBA (Isareli broadcasting authority) for ever entering Dekel's song to the Kdam, trying to get to Sweden anyway. The judge ruled in IBA's favor. Also, the arrangement on stage had Dafna spin with her skirt flying up, revealing her legs. Dafna, who wasn't too keen on showing off her legs all over Europe, had asked her stylists to design special shorts, which she wore to her dressing rehearsal that was shot by dozens of reporters. The PJ's-like shorts caused embarrassment to the Israeli team after her pictures were published all over Europe, and eventually Dafna performed without them.

For the next three years Dafna was a regular on "Pilei Klaim" (stage wonders), a well respected and highly popular children show, which later on turned out to be her informal entrance to "the children world". Pilei Klaim became a classic and is still considered one of Dafna's best career moves.

Dekel released her second self-titled album in 1994 which wasn't as successful as her debut. Two hits from that album were covers, although the album had, again, songs written by Dekel herself.

Dafna took part in the 1995 "Festigal" (and got 3rd) and also in the 1999 Festigal. That year she also hosted the Eurovision song contest that was held in Jerusalem, along with Yigal Ravid and Sigal Shachmon. She appeared on a few children's video tapes which got her even more popular among children. The natural move for her was towards "Dafna and Doo-Di-Doo", one of Israel's most successful children shows of all time.

In 2001 Dafna starred in the main role and composed the songs for the critically acclaimed musical "Shilgiya" (snow white). Towards the end of the run Dafna's mother passed away and bravely enough Dafna went on to finish the run of the musical in spite her personal grief.

After being in the "children world" for more than a decade Dafna took a "grown up" part in "Agadat Deshe'" (a grass tale), a drama series which got terrible reviews but Dekel had starred in the show's two seasons.

After not releasing any original songs for adults in 15 years, in March 2008 Dafna Dekel released the single "Yoman yakar" (dear diary), the first song from her upcoming third album "Yoman" (diary) which she wrote all the lyrics to and composed most of it, along with her two musician brothers.

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