Yoninaצילום: ערוץ 7

Yoni and Nina Tokayer, known as Yonina, spoke to Arutz Sheva – Israel National News about music creativity in wartime, which also gave rise to a new song and video "Star Gatherer".

“This is a song I wrote during the war - about my experience that on Simchat Torah morning (October 7th), Yoni was drafted while I was on my way to synagogue with our children, and what it meant to be a couple living in parallel worlds. There was this feeling that we are fighting here together for something, even though each one of us stood apart, which really strengthened me during this time," says Nina.

Yoni describes the creative process. "About two weeks into the war, Nina sent me a WhatsApp with a recording of the song and lyrics. It was just a verse and a chorus, and it really moved me. She played the song to the evacuees at a concert and told me about their reactions. I suggested that she write a second verse – my story."

I was sitting at an army base in the Ramallah area and I told her that this wasn't a place to write a song. I had no inspiration and no desire because of my military reality. Then Nina started asking me questions and asked me to tell her about my experiences. She turned these into a stanza," he adds.

"We received very emotional and reinforcing reactions to the song," says Nina. "I also performed for men and they thought I was telling the story of the wife at home – but a lot of soldiers had heard it in the field and sent it to their wives, so something very exciting happened."

Their songs, which have reached many followers around the world – some even from Muslim countries – also play a role in Israeli advocacy. "Because we have a lot of online followers, in Israel, in the Diaspora, and also non-Jewish followers from countries like Turkey and Iraq, we try very hard to do our part with Israeli advocacy. We share our lives, reality, weak moments and moments of resilience, strength and optimism."

Yoni says, "The audience abroad is surprised by the lack of separation between an IDF soldier and his home. The fact that there is a husband-wife duo singing together and suddenly he is, ostensibly, the 'evil army.’ We are all life-loving people who want to live and we have been caught in a situation where we have been forced to fight. It is important that people see this extensive picture also, because it affects them as well.”

We made a video with Matisyahu and sang a song of his that talks about peace. We wrote about the video that even when we have to fight against evil for the sake of our lives in Israel, we dream of peace. For many people, it’s an eye-opener – that the destruction of evil in the world will bring peace," Nina adds.

These days, among other things, they are also working on a song that will help Israeli advocacy and show the destruction caused by Hamas terrorists, alongside the building and lives that they are trying to build in the communities surrounding the Gaza Strip, in particular, and in Israel, in general.

"We are working on a project with the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs to connect people to what is happening here through music. I also hope that after I return from reserve duty, we will resume performances in Israel," Yoni concludes.

When asked whether it is possible that the war will also give rise to a new performance, they smile and say that the past few months have given them many ideas for a show that may be staged in the future.