Rediscovered: Leonard Cohen lyrics of fighting with ‘brothers’ in Yom Kippur War


One verse of Cohen’s song ‘Lover, Lover, Lover,’ written while he played for troops battling Egypt, deeply moved the soldiers who heard it, then mysteriously disappeared. Until now.

Times of Israel: When the Yom Kippur War broke out in the fall of 1973, legendary Canadian singer Leonard Cohen was moved to come to Israel to try and help the Jewish state, which was facing the most serious threat to its short existence.

Convinced by Israeli artists to join them and come down to the Sinai desert where the battle was raging against the invading Egyptian forces, Cohen went from base to base, playing concerts for the weary soldiers.

There, during a break between performances, he penned and performed what would become one of his most famous hits: ‘Lover, Lover, Lover.”

One particular verse in the song grabbed the attention of those who heard it, moved by the solidarity of the Jewish singer-poet: “I went down to the desert to help my brothers fight…,” the verse began.

And yet when the song was released to the world, the lines had disappeared, leaving the soldiers to wonder what had become of that verse and, perhaps too, if something had changed regarding the manifest depth of Cohen’s attachment to Israel.

Now, nearly five decades later, Canadian-born Israeli writer Matti Friedman has rediscovered Cohen’s original drafts while researching a book on Cohen’s trip to Israel in a book newly published in Hebrew. Read More