Ofra Haza was born to a large, impoverished Yemenite Jewish family in Tel Aviv, Israel. At age 12, she joined a local theater troupe and was singled out for her mezzo soprano voice and talent. By age 19, she was Israel's leading pop music star. She sang in several languages and recorded songs that blended ancient Yemenite-Jewish poetry with Western music. Her work became popular in many Arab countries as well as in Europe and the Americas. She produced a video for MTV and appeared on American talk shows. In 1994, Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin invited her to sing at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for him, Shimon Peres, and Yasser Arafat. She died at age 42 in 2000 of AIDS-related pneumonia.