Desheh, Avraham

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DESHEH, AVRAHAM ("Pashanel "; 1926–2004), Israeli producer. It is hard to imagine contemporary Israeli culture without the titanic influence of Avraham "Pashanel" Desheh. The number of bands and artists who owe their start in the entertainment business to Pashanel is enormous. The *Ha-Gashash ha-Ḥiver comedy trio, the seminal rock band Kaverret, the theater and singing troupe Green Onion, comedian Sefi Rivlin, and pop singer Yardenah Arazi are just some of the top acts who in all likelihood would not have made it had it not been for Pashanel.

Pashanel was born in Tel Aviv as Avraham Greenberg. His first encounter with the world of theater was as a taxi driver, after his release from the British army, when his fares included actors from the Cameri Theater. A career in theater soon became a burning ambition and he achieved his objective in 1957, when he was appointed director of the Zirah Theater. His first major stage success came in 1957 when, along with Chaim *Topol and Uri *Zohar, he created the popular Green Onion 13-member acting-singing troupe. Pashanel, Topol, and Zohar also put out a string of successful of musicals, including Evita, Joseph and His Dreamcoat, and Fiddler On the Roof.

After the break-up of Green Onion, in 1961, Pashanel and Zohar established the Amami theater production agency, which made a number of movies directed by Zohar, such as Ḥor ba-Levanah ("Hole In The Moon") and Ha-Tarnegol ("The Rooster"). Around this time Pashanel was also instrumental in establishing the Hammam music club in Jaffa and managed the hit pop group The Roosters, which included Yehoram *Gaon, Shaike Levi, Gavri Banai, and Israeli (Poli) Poliakov. Under Pashanel's guidance, the latter three later became the long-running seminal comic threesome Ha-Gashash ha-Ḥiver.

In his capacity as a producer, Pashanel was a leading force in all areas of the performing arts. He also had a well-developed knack for creating successful teams. The leading collaborations he initiated included the confluence of Ha-Gashash ha-Ḥiver with actor-writers Shaike *Ophir, Nissim *Aloni, and Yossi *Banai, and the all-female pop trio Shokolad Menta Mastik with director-producer Tzadi Tzarfati.

In his heyday, in the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s Pashanel was the undisputed king of the Israeli entertainment family. In 2002 he was given a Lifetime Achievement award in recognition of his contribution to Israeli theater, and he received a similar accolade for his movie work at the 2003 Jerusalem International Film Festival.

[Barry Davis (2nd ed.)]