Shortly after moving to the hotel, he went to see the singer/promoter Sholomo Semach, who was attached to the air force. Cohen wanted to volunteer, and Semach immediately lined him up with an entertainment group in the air force. Before he started, however, the Israeli singer Ilana Rovina invited him to perform one night at an air base near Tel Aviv, which he did. He then joined her group for performances in the Sinai, flying on a Dakota aircraft.
Now, an Israeli website claims to have discovered an archival tape of artists performing for the soldiers during the 1973 Yom Kippur war. The tape includes Leonard performing “So Long, Marianne.” The following excerpt is via Google Translate:
The Army Radio Archive presents: What happened a long time ago – 28.09.17
In honor of Yom Kippur this week, we bring you the program of Yaakov Agmon “The Night in Egypt” in which he brings the voices of IDF soldiers from the field during the Yom Kippur War and the rare performances of Oshik Levi, Ilana Rubina, Popik Arnon and none other than Leonard Cohen Private to Israel in order to volunteer for the IDF and raise the morale of the soldiers.
Update: The following helpful explanation is from the comment by Tamar [with minimal colloquial English editing by me]:
After the song and the applause, the narrator says something like:
The applause was of course for Leonard Cohen. And had you seen the way the soldiers welcomed him, you would have witnessed genuine excitement. Before him [LC] Ilana Rovina sang; they performed on a short break, while the soldiers rest.
And at around 46:39 (after an interview in Hebrew) LC speaks 🙂 and then starts singing again, probably Suzanne. It seems that the recording then switches to the studio version of Suzanne, not the live show, and returns to the live show for the applause.
To hear this recording,
Go to this link and scroll to the second video. Leonard’s performance begins about 33:20.