Chaim Topol as Tevye
Chaim Topol as TevyeFlash 90

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has paid tribute to Chaim Topol, who passed away last night at the age of 87.

"My wife Sara and I, like all Israeli citizens, with deep sorrow, are saying farewell to our dear and beloved Chaim Topol, who was one of the State of Israel's greatest artists. He greatly loved the land of Israel, and the people of Israel loved him in return.

"Topol was a multi-faceted artist, with great charisma and energy. He proudly represented Israel around the world and received international recognition of a kind that few have received. His plays and films were extraordinary experiences. Thanks to his broad smile, warm voice and unique sense of humor, he was a popular figure who conquered the heart of the people.

"Topol had a huge heart. He fervently supported the justice of Israel's path and enthusiastically believed in the Zionist vision. He expressed these views openly, around the world. At the same time, Topol helped sick and special needs children, out of the deep desire to contribute to the resilience of Israeli society. Eight years ago, I had the privilege of awarding Topol the Israel Prize. I told him how proud of him we all were.

"Whether he was playing Salah Shabati, Tevye the milkman or Milos Columbo alongside James Bond, Topol remained modest and loved people. Sadly, the fiddler on the roof is no longer with us. The strings of the fiddle have fallen silent. The story of Chaim Topol's life has been sealed but I am certain that his contribution to Israeli culture will live on for generations. Sara and I convey our sincere condolences to his family. May his memory be blessed."