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English: The Hope
Cigarette silk depicting Zionist flag (3560854953).jpg
The lyrics of "Hatikvah" below an Israeli flag

National anthem of  Israel
LyricsNaftali Herz Imber, 1878
MusicSamuel Cohen, 1888
Adopted1897 (by the First Zionist Congress)
1948 (by Israel, provisionally)
2004 (by Israel, officially)
2018 (by Israel, Basic Law)
Audio sample
"Hatikvah" (instrumental)

"Hatikvah" (Hebrew: ?, pronounced [hatik'va], lit. English: "The Hope") is a 19th-century Jewish poem and the national anthem of Israel. The theme of the romantic composition reflects the Jews' 2,000-year-old hope of returning to the Land of Israel, restoring it, and reclaiming it as a free and sovereign nation. Its lyrics are adapted from a poem by Naftali Herz Imber, a Jewish poet from Z?oczów (today Zolochiv, Ukraine), which was then in the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria under Austrian rule. Imber wrote the first version of the poem in 1877, while he was a guest of a Jewish scholar in Ia?i, Romania.


The first recording of "Hatikvah" (Hebrew: «?»), performed by Hulda Lashanska in 1920

The text of Hatikvah was written in 1878 by Naphtali Herz Imber, a Jewish poet from Zolochiv (Polish: Z?oczów), a city nicknamed "The City of Poets",[1] then in Austrian Poland, today in Ukraine. In 1882 Imber immigrated to Ottoman-ruled Palestine and read his poem to the pioneers of the early Jewish villages - Rishon Lezion, Rehovot, Gedera, and Yesud Hama'ala.[2]

Imber's nine-stanza poem, Tikvatenu ("Our Hope"), put into words his thoughts and feelings following the establishment of Petah Tikva (literally "Opening of Hope"). Published in Imber's first book Barkai [The Shining Morning Star], Jerusalem, 1886,[3] the poem was subsequently adopted as an anthem by the Hovevei Zion and later by the Zionist Movement at the First Zionist Congress in 1897.

Before the establishment of the State of Israel

Hatikvah was chosen as the organisational anthem of the First Zionist Congress in 1897.[4]

The British Mandate government briefly banned its public performance and broadcast from 1919, in response to an increase in Arab anti-Zionist political activity.[5]

A former member of the Sonderkommando reported that the song was spontaneously sung by Czech Jews at the entrance to the Auschwitz-Birkenau gas chamber in 1944. While singing they were beaten by Waffen-SS guards.[6]

Adoption as national anthem

When the State of Israel was established in 1948, "Hatikvah" was unofficially proclaimed the national anthem. It did not officially become the national anthem until November 2004, when an abbreviated and edited version was sanctioned by the Knesset[4] in an amendment to the Flag and Coat-of-Arms Law (now renamed the Flag, Coat-of-Arms, and National Anthem Law).

In its modern rendering, the official text of the anthem incorporates only the first stanza and refrain of the original poem. The predominant theme in the remaining stanzas is the establishment of a sovereign and free nation in the Land of Israel, a hope largely seen as fulfilled with the founding of the State of Israel.


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  \set Staff.midiInstrument = #"violin"
  \tempo 4 = 80
  \key f \major
  \time 4/4
  d8 e f g a4 a8 a bes a bes d a4. a8 g4 g8 g f4 f e8 d e f d4.

The melody for "Hatikvah" derives from "La Mantovana", a 16th-century Italian song, composed by Giuseppe Cenci (Giuseppino del Biado) ca. 1600 with the text "Fuggi, fuggi, fuggi da questo cielo". Its earliest known appearance in print was in the del Biado's collection of madrigals. It was later known in early 17th-century Italy as Ballo di Mantova. This melody gained wide currency in Renaissance Europe, under various titles, such as the Pod Krakowem (in Polish), Cucuruz cu frunza-n sus [Maize with up-standing leaves] (in Romanian)[7][8] and the Kateryna Kucheryava (in Ukrainian).[9] It also served as a basis for a number of folk songs throughout Central Europe, for example the popular Slovenian children song ?uk se je o?enil [The little owl got married] (in Slovenian).[10] The melody was used by the Czech composer Bed?ich Smetana in his set of six symphonic poems celebrating Bohemia, "Má vlast" ("My homeland"), namely in the second poem named after the river which flows through Prague, Vltava; the piece is also known under its German title as Die Moldau (The Moldau).[11]

The adaptation of the music for "Hatikvah" was set by Samuel Cohen in 1888. Cohen himself recalled many years later that he had hummed Hatikvah based on the melody from the song he had heard in Romania, Carul cu boi [The Ox-Driven Cart].[12][13][14]

The harmony of "Hatikvah" follows a minor scale, which is often perceived as mournful in tone and is uncommon in national anthems. As the title "The Hope" and the words suggest, the import of the song is optimistic and the overall spirit uplifting.

Use in sporting events

The Israeli national anthem is used in several European sporting events[15] since the Arab states barred Israel from participating in their own continent's sporting bodies. In October 2017, after judoka Tal Flicker won gold in the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Slam in the United Arab Emirates, officials played the International Judo Federation (IJF) anthem instead of "Hatikvah" which Flicker sang privately.[16][17]

Official text

Imber's handwritten text of the poem

The official text of the national anthem corresponds to the first stanza and amended refrain of the original nine-stanza poem by Naftali Herz Imber. Along with the original Hebrew, the corresponding transliteration[a] and English translation are listed below.

Hebrew lyrics

Modern Hebrew Transliteration Phonemic transcription (IPA)
First verse

? ?
? ,

Kol ‘od balevav penimah
Nefesh Yehudi homiyah,
Ulfa’ate mizrach kadimah,
‘Ayin leTziyon tzofiyah;

/kol od balevav penima/
/nefe? jehudi homija |/
/ulfa?ate miz?a? kadima |/
/ajin let?sijon t?sofija |/

Second verse

? ? ,
? ? ? ?,
? .

‘Od lo avdah tikvatenu,
Hatikvah bat shnot ’alpayim,
Lihyot ‘am chofshi be’artzenu,
’Eretz-Tziyon virushalayim.

/od lo avda tikvatenu |/
/hatikva bat ?not alpajim |/
/lihjot am ?of?i be?a?t?senu |/
/e?et?s t?sijon vi?u?alajim ?/


Arabic script Romanisation of Arabic

? .

? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? .

lam? f? al-qalb takmun,
Nafsun yah?diyya tatuq,
Wa-lil?am?m na?wa a?-?arq,
?Aynun tan?uru ?ilá ?ahy?n.

?Amalun? lam ya?a? ba?d,
?Amalun ?umruhu ?al-f?ni sana,
?An nak?n ?ummatan ?urra f? bil?din?,
Bil?du ?ahy?n waru?al?m al-quds.

English translation

Literal Poetic

As long as in the heart, within,
A Jewish soul still yearns,
And onward, towards the ends of the east,
an eye still gazes toward Zion;

Our hope is not yet lost,
The two-thousand-year-old hope,
To be a free nation in our land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.

O while within a Jewish heart,
Yearns true a Jewish soul,
And Jewish glances turning East,
To Zion fondly dart;

O then our Hope--it is not dead,
Our ancient Hope and true,
To be a nation free forevermore
Zion and Jerusalem at our core.

Some people compare the first line of the refrain, "Our hope is not yet lost" (" ? ?"), to the opening of the Polish national anthem, Poland Is Not Yet Lost (Jeszcze Polska nie zgina) or the Ukrainian national anthem, Ukraine Has Not Yet Perished ( ?; e ne vmerla Ukrajina). This line may also be a Biblical allusion to Ezekiel's "Vision of the Dried Bones" (Ezekiel 37: "...Behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost"), describing the despair of the Jewish people in exile, and God's promise to redeem them and lead them back to the Land of Israel.

The official text of Hatikvah is relatively short; indeed it is a single complex sentence, consisting of two clauses: the subordinate clause posits the condition ("As long as... A soul still yearns... And... An eye still watches..."), while the independent clause specifies the outcome ("Our hope is not yet lost... To be a free nation in our land").

Text of Tikvatenu

Below is the full text of the nine-stanza poem Tikvatenu by Naftali Herz Imber. The current version of the Israeli national anthem corresponds to the first stanza of this poem and the amended refrain.

Hebrew Transliteration English translation
? Kol-'od balevav penimah As long as in the heart, within,
, Nefesh yehudi homiyah, A Jewish soul still yearns,
? , Ulfa'ate mizrach kadimah, And onward, towards the ends of the east,
; 'Ayin letziyon tzofiyah; An eye still looks toward Zion;
?   Refrain
? , 'Od lo avdah tikvatenu, Our hope is not yet lost,
, Hatikvah hannoshanah, The ancient hope,
? ? ?, Lashuv le'eretz avotenu, To return to the land of our fathers,
? . La'ir bah david k'hanah. The city where David encamped.
? Kol 'od dema'ot me'enenu As long as tears from our eyes
? ? , Yizzelu kegeshem nedavot, Flow like benevolent rain,
? ? Urevavot mibbne 'ammenu And throngs of our countrymen
? ?; 'Od holchim 'al kivre avot; Still pay homage at the graves of (our) fathers;
?   Refrain
? ? Kol-'od chomat mach(a)maddenu As long as our precious Wall
? , Le'enenu mofa'at, Appears before our eyes,
? Ve'al churban mikdashenu And over the destruction of our Temple
; 'Ayin achat 'od doma'at; An eye still wells up with tears;
?   Refrain
Kol 'od me hayarden bega'on As long as the waters of the Jordan
?, Melo' gedotav yizzolu, In fullness swell its banks,
? ? Uleyam kinneret besha'on And (down) to the Sea of Galilee
? ; Bekol hamulah yippolu; With tumultuous noise fall;
?   Refrain
Kol 'od sham 'ale drachayim As long as on the barren highways
?, Sha'ar yukkat she'iyah, The humbled city gates mark,
? ? Uven charvot yerushalayim And among the ruins of Jerusalem
? ; 'Od bat tziyon bochiyah; A daughter of Zion still cries;
?   Refrain
Kol 'od dema'ot tehorot As long as pure tears
? , Me'ayn bat 'ammi nozlot, Flow from the eye of a daughter of my nation,
? ? Velivkot letziyon berosh 'ashmorot And to mourn for Zion at the watch of night
? ? ; 'Od takum bachatzi hallelot; She still rises in the middle of the nights;
?   Refrain
? Kol 'od nitfe dam be'orkenu As long as drops of blood in our veins
? ? ? Ratzo' vashov yizzolu, Flow back and forth,
? ? Va'ale kivrot avotenu And upon the graves of our fathers
? ?; 'Od egle tal yippolu; Dewdrops still fall;
?   Refrain
? Kol 'od regesh ahavat halle'om As long as the feeling of love of nation
?, Belev hayehudi po'em, Throbs in the heart of the Jew,
? ? ? 'Od nuchal kavvot gam hayyom We can still hope even today
?; Ki 'od yerachmenu 'el zo'em; That God may still have mercy on us;
?   Refrain
? Shim'u achai be'artzot nudi Hear, O my brothers in the lands of exile,
, Et kol achad chozenu, The voice of one of our visionaries,
? Ki rak 'im acharon hayehudi (Who declares) That only with the very last Jew --
! Gam acharit tikvatenu! Only there is the end of our hope!
?   Refrain
–X– (unofficial)
? , ?, Lech ?ammi, leshalom shuv le'artzecha Go, my people, return in peace to your land
, , Hatzeri vegil?ad, biYerushalayim rofecha The balm in Gilead, your healer in Jerusalem,
?, ? ?, rofecha YY (adonai), chochmat levavo Your healer is God, the wisdom of His heart,
? , ? ... lech ?ammi leshalom, ur(e)fu'ah k(e)rovah lavo'...` Go my people in peace, healing is imminent...

Alternate proposals and objections

Objections by religious Jews

Some religious Jews have criticised "Hatikvah" for its lack of religious emphasis: There is no mention of God or the Torah.[18]

Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook wrote an alternative anthem titled "HaEmunah" ("The Faith") which he proposed as a replacement for "Hatikvah". But he did not object to the singing of "Hatikvah", and in fact endorsed it.[19]

Objections by non-Jewish Israelis

Liberalism and the Right to Culture, written by Avishai Margalit and Moshe Halbertal, provides a social scientific perspective on the cultural dynamics in Israel, a country that is a vital home to many diverse religious groups. More specifically, Margalit and Halbertal cover the various responses towards "Hatikvah", which they establish as the original anthem of a Zionist movement, one that holds a two thousand year long hope of returning to the homeland ("Zion and Jerusalem") after a long period of exile.

To introduce the controversy of Israel's national anthem, the authors provide two instances where "Hatikvah" is rejected for the estrangement that it creates between the minority cultural groups of Israel and its religious politics. Those that object find trouble in the mere fact that the national anthem is exclusively Jewish while a significant proportion of the state's citizenry is not Jewish and lacks any connection to the anthem's content and implications.

As Margalit and Halbertal continue to discuss, "Hatikvah" symbolises for many Arab-Israelis the struggle of loyalty that comes with having to dedicate oneself to either their historical or religious identity.[20]

Specifically, Arab Israelis object to "Hatikvah" due to its explicit allusions to Jewishness. In particular, the text's reference to the yearnings of "a Jewish soul" is often cited as preventing non-Jews from personally identifying with the anthem. In 2001, Saleh Tarif, the first non-Jew appointed to the Israeli cabinet in Israel's history, refused to sing "Hatikvah".[21]Ghaleb Majadale, who in January 2007 became the first Muslim to be appointed as a minister in the Israeli cabinet, sparked a controversy when he publicly refused to sing the anthem, stating that the song was written for Jews only.[22] In 2012, Salim Joubran, an Israeli Arab justice on Israel's Supreme Court, did not join in singing "Hatikvah" during a ceremony honoring the retirement of the court's chief justice, Dorit Beinisch.[23]

From time to time proposals have been made to change the national anthem or to modify the text in order to make it more acceptable to non-Jewish Israelis.[24][25] To date no such proposals have succeeded in gaining broad support.[]

See also


  1. ^ In the transliterations that appear on this page, a right quote (’) is used to represent the Hebrew letter aleph (?) when used as a consonant, while a left quote (‘) is used to represent the Hebrew letter ‘ayin (?). The letter e in parentheses, (e), indicates a schwa that should theoretically be voiceless, but is usually pronounced as a very short e in modern Israeli Hebrew. In contrast, the letter a in parentheses, (a), indicates a very short a that should theoretically be pronounced, but is usually not voiced in modern Israeli Hebrew.


  1. ^ Weiss, Jakob (2011), The Lemberg Mosaic, New York: Alderbrook, p. 59.
  2. ^ Tobianah, Vicky (12 May 2012). "Pianist explores Hatikva's origins". cjnews.com. Canadian Jewish News. Retrieved 2017.
  3. ^ Naphtali Herz Imber (1904) Barkoi or The Blood Avenger, A.H. Rosenberg, New York (Hebrew and English)
  4. ^ a b Vivian Eden (24 August 2015). "Evil Spirits Lurking in Israel's National Anthem". Haaretz. Retrieved 2015.
  5. ^ Morris, B (1999), Righteous victims: a history of the Zionist-Arab conflict, 1881-1999, Knopf.
  6. ^ Gilbert, Shirli, Music in the Holocaust: Confronting Life in the Nazi Ghettos and Camps, p. 154.
  7. ^ "Cucuruz cu frunza-n sus - Didina Curea" – via www.youtube.com.
  8. ^ Lyrics: https://lyricstranslate.com/en/cucuruz-cu-frunza-n-sus-traditional-version-no-2-maize-raised-leaf-traditional-version.html
  9. ^ IV. Musical examples: Baroque and classic eras; Torban Tuning and repertoire, Torban.
  10. ^ kultura, Zdenko Matoz (26 September 2014). "Il Divo - poperetni fenomen". www.delo.si.
  11. ^ "Smetana - Die Moldau (Karajan)" – via www.youtube.com.
  12. ^ "Carul cu boi" – via www.youtube.com.
  13. ^ " ? - ( )" – via www.youtube.com.
  14. ^ Lyrics: https://lyricstranslate.com/en/carul-cu-boi-ox-driven-cart.html
  15. ^ "Israeli judoka wins gold, hears Hatikva at Europe championship". Israel National News.
  16. ^ "Israeli wins judo gold in UAE, which refuses to play anthem, raise flag".
  17. ^ "Abu Dhabi Grand Slam 2017 / IJF.org". www.ijf.org.
  18. ^ Yosef Y. Jacobson, Bentching vs. Hatikva; Torah vs. the UN, Chabad.org, originally published in summer 2013, accessed 30 January 2019
  19. ^ Kook, Rav, Response to Hatikvah, In more recent years, some Israeli Mizrahi (Eastern) Jews have criticised the song's western perspective. For Iraqi and Persian Jews, for example, the Land of Israel was in the west, and it was to this direction that they focused their prayers.
  20. ^ Margalit, Avishai; Halbertal, Moshe. "Liberalism and the Right to Culture". Social Research: An International Quarterly. Johns Hopkins University Press. 71: 494-497.
  21. ^ "Not All Israeli Arabs Cheer Appointment of Druse Minister". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 6 March 2001. Retrieved 2012. It is the Jewish anthem, it is not the anthem of the non-Jewish citizens of Israel.
  22. ^ "Majadele refuses to sing national anthem". Ynet News. 17 March 2007. Retrieved 2007. I fail to understand how an enlightened, sane Jew allows himself to ask a Muslim person with a different language and culture, to sing an anthem that was written for Jews only.
  23. ^ Bronner, Ethan (3 March 2012). "Anger and Compassion for Arab Justice Who Stays Silent During Zionist Hymn". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012.
  24. ^ Philologos. "Rewriting 'Hatikvah' as Anthem for All". The Jewish Daily Forward. Retrieved 2012.
  25. ^ Carlebach, Neshama. "An Anthem For All?". The Jewish Daily Forward (recording). Retrieved 2012.. A proposed modified version.

External links

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