|English: The Hope|
National anthem of Israel
|Lyrics||Naftali Herz Imber, 1878|
|Music||Samuel Cohen offered a Romanian melody in 1887/88|
|Adopted||1897 (by the First Zionist Congress)|
1948 (by Israel, provisionally)
2004 (by Israel, officially)
2018 (by Israel, Basic Law)
"Hatikvah" (Hebrew: הַתִּקְוָה, pronounced [hatikˈva], 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 and reclaiming it as a free and sovereign nation. Its lyrics are adapted from a poem by Naftali Herz Imber, a Jewish poet from Złoczów (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 Iași, Romania.
The text of Hatikvah was written in 1878 by Naftali Herz Imber, a Jewish poet from Zolochiv (Polish: Złoczów), a city nicknamed "The City of Poets", then in Austrian Poland, today in Ukraine. In 1882 Imber emigrated to Ottoman-ruled Palestine and read his poem to the pioneers of the early Jewish villages—Rishon LeZion, Rehovot, Gedera, and Yesud Hama'ala. In 1887, Samuel or Shmuel Cohen, a very young (17 or 18 years old) resident of Rishon LeZion with a musical background, sang the poem by using a melody he knew from Romania and making it into a song, after witnessing the emotional responses of the Jewish farmers who had heard the poem. Cohen's musical adaptation served as a catalyst and facilitated the poem's rapid spread throughout the Zionist communities of Palestine.
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, was subsequently adopted as an anthem by the Hovevei Zion and later by the Zionist Movement.
Before the establishment of the State of Israel
The Zionist Organization conducted two competitions for an anthem, the first in 1898 and the second, at the Fourth Zionist Congress, in 1900. The quality of the entries were all judged unsatisfactory and none was selected. Imber's Tikvatenu, however, was popular, and a sessions at the Fifth Zionist Congress in Basel in 1901 concluded with the singing of the poem. During the Sixth Zionist Congress at Basel in 1903, the poem was sung by those opposed to accepting the proposal for a Jewish state in Uganda, their position in favor of the Jewish homeland in Palestine expressed in the line "An eye still gazes toward Zion".
Although the poem was sung at subsequent congresses, it was only at the Eighteenth Zionist Congress in Prague in 1933 that a motion passed formally adopting Hatikvah as the anthem of the Zionist movement.
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.
Adoption as national anthem
|Music for Holidays|
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 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 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) and the Kateryna Kucheryava (in Ukrainian). It also served as a basis for a number of folk songs throughout Central Europe, for example the popular Slovenian children song Čuk se je oženil [The little owl got married] (in Slovenian). The melody was used by the Czech composer Bedřich 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). The melody was also used by the French composer Camille Saint-Saëns in "Rapsodie Bretonne".
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].
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
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.
Use in film
Hatkivah is also used both in the adaptation of Leon Uris's novel, Exodus, and in Schindler's List.
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.
|Modern Hebrew||Transliteration||Phonemic transcription (IPA)|
כֹּל עוֹד בַּלֵּבָב פְּנִימָה
Kol ‘od balevav penimah
/kol od balevav penima/
עוֹד לֹא אָבְדָה תִּקְוָתֵנוּ,
‘Od lo avdah tikvatenu,
/od lo avda tikvatenu |/
|Arabic script||Romanisation of Arabic|
طالما في القلب تكمن،
Ṭālamā fī l-qalbi takmun,
O while within a Jewish heart,
Some people compare the first line of the refrain, "Our hope is not yet lost" (“עוד לא אבדה תקותנו”), to the opening of the Polish national anthem, Poland Is Not Yet Lost (Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła) or 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 (Hebrew:אבדה תקותנו)"), 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").
Alternate proposals and objections
Objections by religious Jews
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.
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 national Jewish 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.
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". 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. 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.
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. To date no such proposals have succeeded in gaining broad support.
- 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.
- Weiss, Jakob (2011), The Lemberg Mosaic, New York: Alderbrook, p. 59.
- Tobianah, Vicky (12 May 2012). "Pianist explores Hatikva's origins". Canadian Jewish News. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
- Seroussi, Edwin (2015). "Hatikvah: Conceptions, Receptions and Reflections". Yuval – Studies of the Jewish Music Research Centre. Jewish Music Research Centre (JMRC), The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. IX. Retrieved 6 January 2021 – via JMRC website.
- Naphtali Herz Imber (1904) Barkoi or The Blood Avenger, A.H. Rosenberg, New York (Hebrew and English)
- "Hatikvah: Conceptions, Receptions and Reflections". Jewish Music Research Centre. Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 1 December 2009. Retrieved 20 December 2020.
- Morris, B (1999), Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist–Arab Conflict, 1881–1999, Knopf, ISBN 9780307788054.
- Gilbert, Shirli, Music in the Holocaust: Confronting Life in the Nazi Ghettos and Camps, p. 154.
- Ben Zion, Ilan (16 April 2013). "How an unwieldy romantic poem and a Romanian folk song combined to produce 'Hatikva'". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 20 December 2020.
- Lyrics: https://lyricstranslate.com/en/cucuruz-cu-frunza-n-sus-traditional-version-no-2-maize-raised-leaf-traditional-version.html
- IV. Musical examples: Baroque and classic eras; Torban Tuning and repertoire, Torban.
- kultura, Zdenko Matoz (26 September 2014). "Il Divo – poperetni fenomen". delo.si.
- Lyrics: https://lyricstranslate.com/en/carul-cu-boi-ox-driven-cart.html
- "Israeli wins judo gold in UAE, which refuses to play anthem, raise flag". www.timesofisrael.com.
- "Abu Dhabi Grand Slam 2017 / IJF.org". ijf.org.
- "HATIKVA (THE HOPE) (FROM MUNICH)" – via halleonard.com/.
- Jewish National and Zion Songs: In Hebrew, Jewish and English. With Music (in Hebrew). Hebrew Publishing Company. 1915.
- Yosef Y. Jacobson, Bentching vs. Hatikva; Torah vs. the UN, Chabad.org, originally published in summer 2013, accessed 30 January 2019
- 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.
- Margalit, Avishai; Halbertal, Moshe (2004). "Liberalism and the Right to Culture". Social Research: An International Quarterly. Johns Hopkins University Press. 71: 494–497.
- "Not All Israeli Arabs Cheer Appointment of Druse Minister". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 6 March 2001. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
It is the Jewish anthem, it is not the anthem of the non-Jewish citizens of Israel.
- "Majadele refuses to sing national anthem". Ynet News. 17 March 2007. Retrieved 9 May 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.
- Bronner, Ethan (3 March 2012). "Anger and Compassion for Arab Justice Who Stays Silent During Zionist Hymn". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- Philologos. "Rewriting 'Hatikvah' as Anthem for All". The Jewish Daily Forward. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- Carlebach, Neshama. "An Anthem For All?". The Jewish Daily Forward (recording). Retrieved 29 April 2012.. A proposed modified version.
- Israel's National Anthem – Hatikva, Jewish Virtual Library.