- Associated Press - Sunday, January 1, 2012

JERUSALEM (AP) - Yaffa Yarkoni, a singer who belted out wartime songs only to become a critic of the Israeli military late in life, has died. She was 86.

Israeli media say Yarkoni, who had suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease, died Sunday.

Yarkoni went from entertaining soldiers as a wartime songbird to criticizing the Israeli military’s treatment of Palestinians during their uprising last decade. After chiding the military in 2002, Yarkoni was branded a traitor by soldiers’ families, received death threats and had a gala tribute to her career canceled.

Her songs tell of Israel’s pioneering days following the 1948 war that led to its creation. Many became classics that still resonate with Israelis.

Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni said Yarkoni’s death was “a big loss for our culture.”