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English: The Hope
The lyrics of 'Hatikvah' above a half transparent flag of Israel

National anthem of

LyricsNaphtali Herz Imber, 1878
MusicSamuel Cohen, 1888
Adopted1897 (First Zionist Congress)
1948 (unofficially)
2004 (officially)
Music sample
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For the political party, see Hatikva (political party). For the Tel Aviv neighbourhood, see Hatikva Quarter.
English: The Hope
The lyrics of 'Hatikvah' above a half transparent flag of Israel

National anthem of

LyricsNaphtali Herz Imber, 1878
MusicSamuel Cohen, 1888
Adopted1897 (First Zionist Congress)
1948 (unofficially)
2004 (officially)
Music sample

"Hatikvah" (Hebrew: הַתִּקְוָה‎, HaTiqvah, lit. The Hope) is the national anthem of Israel. Its lyrics are adapted from a poem written by Naphtali Herz Imber, a Jewish poet from Złoczów, province of Galicia, Austro-Hungarian Empire, (today, Zolochiv, Ukraine).[1] Imber wrote the first version of his poem in 1877 while being hosted as a guest by a Jewish scholar in the city of Iasi, Romania. The romantic anthem's theme reflects the nearly 2000-year-old hope of the Jewish people to return to the Land of Israel—their ancient homeland—and to restore it and reclaim it as a sovereign nation.




The text of Hatikvah was written in 1878 by Naphtali Herz Imber, a Jewish poet from Złoczów, a city often referred to by its nickname, "The City of Poets"[2] in the province of Galicia, Austro-Hungary, (today Zolochiv, Ukraine). N.H.Imber emigrated to Eretz Israel in the early 1880s and lived in two or more of the first Jewish colonies . The foundation of Hatikvah is Imber's nine-stanza poem named Tikvatenu (lit: "Our Hope"). In this poem Imber puts into words his thoughts and feelings in the wake of the establishment of Petah Tikva, one of the first Jewish settlements in Ottoman Palestine. Published in Imber's first book (Jerusalem, 1886) called Barkai (lit: "The Shining Morning Star"), 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. The text was later revised by the settlers of Rishon LeZion, subsequently undergoing a number of other changes.

Before the Establishment of the State of Israel

The British Mandate government briefly banned its public performance and broadcast from 1919, in response to an increase in Arab anti-Zionist political activity.[3]

A former member of the Sonderkommando reports that the song was spontaneously sung by Czech Jews in the entryway to the Auschwitz-Birkenau gas chamber in 1944. While singing they were beaten by Waffen-SS guards.[4]

Adoption as national anthem

When the State of Israel was established in 1948, Hatikvah was unofficially proclaimed the national anthem. However, it did not officially become the national anthem until November 2004, when it was sanctioned by the Knesset 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.


The melody for Hatikvah derives from La Mantovana, a 17th-century Italian song, composed by Giuseppe Cenci (Guiseppino 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 Polish folk song "Pod Krakowem", Romanian “Cucuruz cu frunza-n sus” (“Maize with up-standing leafs”) and the Ukrainian "Kateryna Kucheryava."[5] This melody was also famously used by the Czech composer Bedřich Smetana in his symphonic poem celebrating Bohemia, “Má vlast,” as “Vltava” (Die Moldau).

The adaptation of the music for Hatikvah was done by Samuel Cohen in 1888. Cohen himself recalled many years later that he had hummed Hatikvah based on the melody from the song he heard in Romania, "Carul cu boi" ("The Ox Driven Cart").

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

Official text

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[6] Arabic translation, and English translation are listed below.

HebrewTransliterationEnglish translationArabic translationTransliteration
כל עוד בלבב פנימהKol ‘od balleivav penimahAs long as in the heart, within,طالما في القلب تكمن،Ṭālmā fī al-qalb takammun,
נפש יהודי הומיה,Nefesh yehudi homiyah,A Jewish soul still yearns,نفس يهودية تنبض،nafs yahūdīyah tanbudu,
ולפאתי מזרח, קדימה,Ul(e)fa’atei mizrach kadimah,And onward, towards the ends of the east,وللأمام نحو الشرق،wa-lil-'amām naḥw aš-šarq,
עין לציון צופיה;‘Ayin letziyon tzofiyah;An eye still gazes toward Zion;عين تنظر إلى صهيون.ʿayn tanẓur ilā Ṣahyūn.
עוד לא אבדה תקותנו,‘Od lo avdah tikvateinu,Our hope is not yet lost,أملنا لم يضع بعد،'amalnā lam yaḍaʿ baʿd,
התקוה בת שנות אלפים,Hatikvah bat shnot alpayim,The hope of two thousand years,أمل عمره ألفا سنة،amal ʿumruh alfā sanah,
להיות עם חפשי בארצנו,Lihyot ‘am chofshi be’artzeinu,To be a free people in our land,أن نكون شعب حرّ في أرضنا،'an nakūn shaʿab ḥur fī ardinā,
ארץ ציון וירושלים.Eretz-tziyon (v)'Y(e)rushalayim.The land of Zion and Jerusalem.بلاد صهيون وأورشليم القدس.bilad Ṣahyūn wa-Uršalīm al-Quds.

Some people compare the first line of the refrain, “Our hope is not yet lost” (“עוד לא אבדה תקוותנו”), to the opening of the Polish national anthem, Poland Is Not Yet Lost (Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła), or to the Ukrainian national anthem, Ukraine Has Not Yet Perished (Ще не вмерла Україна; Šče 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 own land”).

Text of Tikvatenu by Naphtali Herz Imber

Below is the full text of the original 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.

HebrewTransliterationEnglish translationArabic translation
כל עוד בלבב פנימהKol-‘od balevav penimahAs long as in the heart, within,ما دام في القلب، داخل،
נפש יהודי הומיה,Nefesh yehudi homiyah,A Jewish soul still yearns,روح اليهودية لا يزال يتوق،
ולפאתי מזרח קדימה,Ul(e)fa’atei mizrach kadimah,And onward, towards the ends of the east,وما بعده، نحو أقاصي الشرق،
עין לציון צופיה;‘Ayin letziyon tzofiyah;An eye still looks toward Zion;العين لا تزال تبدو نحو صهيون؛
חזרה Refrainاللازمة
עוד לא אבדה תקותנו,‘Od lo avdah tikvateinu,Our hope is not yet lost,ليس لدينا أمل فقدت حتى الآن،
התקוה הנושנה,Hatikvah hannoshanah,The ancient hope,على أمل القديمة،
לשוב לארץ אבותינו,Lashuv le’eretz avoteinu,To return to the land of our fathers,للعودة إلى أرض آبائنا،
לעיר בה דוד חנה.La‘ir bah david k'hanah.The city where David encamped.المدينة حيث نزلوا ديفيد.
כל עוד דמעות מעינינוKol ‘od dema‘ot me‘eineinuAs long as tears from our eyesطالما الدموع من أعيننا
יזלו כגשם נדבות,Yizzelu kegeshem nedavot,Flow like benevolent rain,تدفق كالمطر الخيرين،
ורבבות מבני עמנוUrevavot mibbenei ‘ammeinuAnd throngs of our countrymenوحشود من أبناء بلدنا
עוד הולכים על קברי אבות;‘Od hol(e)chim ‘al kivrei avot;Still pay homage at the graves of (our) fathers;لا تزال تدفع إجلال على قبور الآباء (دينا)؛
חזרה Refrainاللازمة
כל עוד חומת מחמדינוKol-‘od chomat mach(a)maddeinuAs long as our precious Wallطالما حائطنا الثمينة
לעינינו מופעת,Le‘eineinu mofa‘at,Appears before our eyes,يظهر أمام أعيننا،
ועל חרבן מקדשנוVe‘al churban mikdasheinuAnd over the destruction of our Templeوعلى مدى تدمير معبد لدينا
עין אחת עוד דומעת;‘Ayin achat ‘od doma‘at;An eye still wells up with tears;العين الآبار لا يزال حتى بالدموع؛
חזרה Refrainاللازمة
כל עוד מי הירדן בגאוןKol ‘od mei hayarden bega’onAs long as the waters of the Jordanطالما أن مياه نهر الأردن
מלא גדותיו יזלו,Melo’ gedotav yizzolu,In fullness swell its banks,في الامتلاء تنتفخ بنوكها،
ולים כנרת בשאוןUleyam kinneret besha’onAnd (down) to the Sea of Galileeو (لأسفل) إلى بحر الجليل
בקול המולה יפֹלו;Bekol hamulah yippolu;With tumultuous noise fall;مع سقوط الضوضاء الصاخبة؛
חזרה Refrainاللازمة
כל עוד שם עלי דרכיםKol ‘od sham ‘alei drachayimAs long as on the barren highwaysطالما على الطرق السريعة جرداء
שער יכת שאיה,Sha‘ar yukkat she’iyah,The humbled city gates mark,وخاشعة مارك مدينة غيتس،
ובין חרבות ירושליםUvein charvot yerushalayimAnd among the ruins of Jerusalemوبين أنقاض القدس
עוד בת ציון בוכיה;‘Od bat tziyon bochiyah;A daughter of Zion still cries;ابنة صهيون لا يزال يبكي؛
חזרה Refrainاللازمة
כל עוד דמעות טהורותKol ‘od dema‘ot tehorotAs long as pure tearsوالدموع طالما الصرفة
מעין בת עמי נוזלות,Me‘ein bat ‘ammi nozlot,Flow from the eye of a daughter of my nation,تدفق من عين ابنة أمتي،
ולבכות לציון בראש אשמורותVelivkot letziyon berosh ’ashmorotAnd to mourn for Zion at the watch of nightوحدادا على صهيون في ليلة ووتش
עוד תקום בחצי הלילות;‘Od takum bachatzi halleilot;She still rises in the middle of the nights;فهي تستيقظ لا يزال في منتصف ليلة وليلة؛
חזרה Refrainاللازمة
כל עוד נטפי דם בעורקינוKol ‘od nitfei dam be‘orkeinuAs long as drops of blood in our veinsطالما قطرات من الدم في عروقنا
רצוא ושוב יזלוRatzo’ vashov yizzolu,Flow back and forth,تدفق ذهابا وإيابا،
ועלי קברות אבותינוVa‘alei kivrot avoteinuAnd upon the graves of our fathersوبناء على قبور آبائنا
עוד אגלי טל יפלו;‘Od eglei tal yippolu;Dewdrops still fall;قطر الندى لا تزال تقع؛
חזרה Refrainاللازمة
כל עוד רגש אהבת הלאוםKol ‘od regesh ahavat halle’omAs long as the feeling of love of nationطالما أن الشعور بالحب الأمة
בלב היהודי פועם,Beleiv hayhudi po‘eim,Throbs in the heart of the Jew,الدقات في قلب اليهودي،
עוד נוכל קוות גם היום‘Od nuchal kavvot gam hayyomWe can still hope even todayويمكننا أن نأمل تزال حتى اليوم
כי עוד ירחמנו אל זועם;Ki ‘od yerachmeinu ’eil zo‘eim;That a wrathful God may still have mercy on us;وهذا قد والله غاضب لا تزال ارحمنا؛
חזרה Refrainاللازمة
שמעו אחי בארצות נודִיShim‘u achai be’artzot nudiHear, O my brothers in the lands of exile,اسمع يا اخوتي في بلاد المنفى،
את קול אחד חוזינו,Et kol achad chozeinu,The voice of one of our visionaries,صوت واحد من أصحاب الرؤية لدينا،
כי רק עם אחרון היהודִיKi rak ‘im acharon hayhudi(Who declares) That only with the very last Jew —(الذي يعلن) وهذا فقط مع آخر يهودي جدا --
גם אחרית תקותנו!Gam acharit tikvateinu!Only there is the end of our hope!فقط هناك نهاية للأمل لدينا!
חזרה Refrainاللازمة
–X– (unofficial)
לֵךְ עַמִּי, לְשָׁלוֹם שׁוּב לְאַרְצֶךָ,Lekə ʻammiy, ləshalom shov ləʼarəṣekaYou people, peace for your country again,أيها الناس، والسلام لبلدكم مرة أخرى،
הַצֱּרִי בְגִלְעָד, בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם רוֹפְאֶךָ,Haṣṣeriy vəgiləʻad, biYrushalayim rofəʼkaBalm in Gilead, Jerusalem doctor,بلسم في جلعاد، القدس الطبيب،
רוֹפְאֶךָ יְיָ, חָכְמַת לְבָבוֹ,rofəʼka yəya, ḥakəmat ləvavoYour healer is God, the wisdom of His heart,الطبيب الخاص بك ، والحكمة من قلبه،
לֵךְ עַמִּי לְשָׁלוֹם, וּרְפוּאָה קְרוֹבָה לָבוֹא...lekə ʻammiy ləshalom, orəfuʼah qərovah lavoʼ...`Go my people in peace, healing is imminent...كنت الشعوب من أجل السلام، والطب وشيك...

Alternate proposals and objections

Religious objections to Hatikvah

Some observant Jews object to Hatikvah on the grounds that the anthem is too secular and lacks sufficient religious emphasis, such as not mentioning God or the Torah. Thus, some religious Zionists have altered the song by switching the word "חופשי" (free, which in modern Hebrew can allude to a secular Jew being free of mitzvot) with the word "קודשי" (holy), thus reading the line: "To be a holy nation", referring to the verse in Exodus 19:10 "וְאַתֶּם תִּהְיוּ לִי מַמְלֶכֶת כֹּהֲנִים וְגוֹי קָדוֹש" (you shall be for Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation). Others have gone farther by appending the words "תשחקו בכדור" (play ball) at the end of the song, to mimic the USA's practice of yelling "play ball" at Major League Baseball games following the singing of its national anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner".

Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook objected to the secular thrust of Hatikvah and wrote an alternative anthem titled “HaEmunah” ("The Faith") in the hope that it would replace Hatikvah as the Israeli national anthem. Rav Kook did not object to the singing of Hatikvah (and in fact has endorsed it) as he had great respect for secular Jews, indicating that even in their work it was possible to see a level of kedushah (holiness).[7]

Objections by non-Jewish Israelis

Some Arab Israelis object to Hatikvah due to its explicit allusions to Judaism. 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 Arab appointed to the Israeli cabinet in Israel's history, refused to sing "Hatikvah".[8] 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.[9] In 2012, Salim Joubran, an Israeli Arab justice on Israel's Supreme Court, did not join in singing "Hatikva" during a ceremony honoring the retirement of the court's chief justice, Dorit Beinisch[10]

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;[11][12] however, no such proposals have succeeded in gaining broad support.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ Jewish-Ukrainian bibliography (English)
  2. ^ Jakob Weiss, The Lemberg Mosaic (New York: Alderbrook Press, 2011) p. 59
  3. ^ Morris, B (1999) Righteous victims: a history of the Zionist-Arab conflict, 1881-1999 Knopf
  4. ^ Shirli Gilbert. Music in the Holocaust: Confronting Life in the Nazi Ghettos and Camps. p. 154.
  5. ^ IV. Musical examples: Baroque and classic eras; Torban Tuning and repertoire Torban
  6. ^ In the transliterations that appear on this page, a right quote (’) is used to represent the Hebrew letter aleph (א) when used as a consonant, while a left quote (‘) is used to represent the Hebrew letter ‘ayin (ע). 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.
  7. ^ Rav Kook’s Response to Hatikvah In more recent years, some Israeli Mizrahi (Eastern) Jews have criticized 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.
  8. ^ "Not All Israeli Arabs Cheer Appointment of Druse Minister". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 2001-03-06. http://archive.jta.org/article/2001/03/06/2902077/behind-the-headlines-not-all-israeli-arabs-cheer-appointment-of-druse-minister. Retrieved 2012-04-26. "It is the Jewish anthem, it is not the anthem of the non-Jewish citizens of Israel." 
  9. ^ "Majadele refuses to sing national anthem". Ynet News. 2007-03-17. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3377681,00.html. Retrieved 2007-05-09. "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." 
  10. ^ Bronner, Ethan (3 March 2012). "Anger and Compassion for Arab Justice Who Stays Silent During Zionist Hymn". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/05/world/middleeast/anger-and-compassion-for-justice-who-stays-silent-during-zionist-hymn.html. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  11. ^ Philologos. "Rewriting 'Hatikvah' as Anthem for All". The Jewish Daily Forward. http://forward.com/articles/153452/rewriting-hatikvah-as-anthem-for-all/. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  12. ^ "An Anthem For All?". The Jewish Daily Forward.. http://vimeo.com/40306541. Retrieved 29 April 2012. "Recording by Neshama Carlebach of a proposed modified version." 

External links