Israel national anthem

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 Its lyrics are adapted from a poem by Naftali Herz Imber, a Jewish poet from Złoczów (today Zolochiv, Ukraine), then part of the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, Austria-Hungary. Imber wrote the first version of the poem in 1877, while the guest of a Jewish scholar in Iași, Romania. The romantic anthem's theme reflects some Jews' hope of moving to the Land of Israel and declaring it a sovereign nation.


The text of Hatikvah was written in 1878 by Naphtali Herz Imber, a Jewish poet from Zolochiv, a city nicknamed «The City of Poets», in the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, Austria-Hungary, today Zolochiv, Ukraine. In 1882 Imber immigrated to Ottoman-ruled Palestine and read his poem to the pioneers of the early Jewish colonies — Rishon Lezion, Rehovot, Gedera and Yesud Hama'ala.

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 , Jerusalem, 1886 , 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 anthem of the First Zionist Congress in 1897.

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

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.

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 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 (folk song) (in Polish) , Cucuruz cu frunza-n sus (in Romanian)  and the Kateryna Kucheryava (in Ukrainian) . The melody was used by the Czech composer Bedřich Smetana in his symphonic poem celebrating Bohemia, Má vlast, as Vltava (also known under the German title as 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 had heard in Romania, Carul cu boi  .

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.

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 and English translation are listed below.

HebrewTransliterationEnglish translation
כֹּל עוֹד בַּלֵּבָב פְּנִימָהKol ‘od balevav penimahAs long as in the heart, within,
נֶפֶשׁ יְהוּדִי הוֹמִיָּהNefesh yehudi homiyah,A Jewish soul still yearns,
וּלְפַאֲתֵי מִזְרָח, קָדִימָה,Ul (e) fa’atei mizrach kadimah,And onward, towards the ends of the east,
עַיִן לְצִיּוֹן צוֹפִיָּה,‘Ayin letziyon tzofiyah;an eye still gazes toward Zion;
עוֹד לֹא אָבְדָה תִּקְוָתֵנוּ,‘Od lo avdah tikvateinu,Our hope is not yet lost,
הַתִּקְוָה בַּת שְׁנוֹת אַלְפַּיִםHatikvah bat sh (e) not ’alpayim,The hope two thousand years old,
לִהְיוֹת עַם חָפְשִׁי בְּאַרְצֵנוּ,Lihyot ‘am chofshi b (e)’artzeinu,To be a free nation in our land,
אֶרֶץ צִיּוֹן וִירוּשָׁלַיִם.’Eretz-Tziyon viy (e) rushalayim.The land of Zion and Jerusalem.
Recorded in 2004

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BBC recording from 20 April 1945 of Jewish survivors of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp singing Hatikvah, only five days after their liberation by Allied forces. The words sung are from the original poem by Imber.

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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 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 land»).

Text of Tikvateinu by Naftali Herz Imber

Below is the full text of the original nine-stanza poem Tikvateinu 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 translation
כל עוד בלבב פנימהKol-‘od balevav penimahAs long as in the heart, within,
נפש יהודי הומיה,Nefesh yehudi homiyah,A Jewish soul still yearns,
ולפאתי מזרח קדימה,Ul (e) fa’atei mizrach kadimah,And onward, towards the ends of the east,
עין לציון צופיה;‘Ayin letziyon tzofiyah;An eye still looks toward Zion;
חזרה Refrain
עוד לא אבדה תקותנו,‘Od lo avdah tikvateinu,Our hope is not yet lost,
התקוה הנושנה,Hatikvah hannoshanah,The ancient hope,
לשוב לארץ אבותינו,Lashuv le’eretz avoteinu,To return to the land of our fathers,
לעיר בה דוד חנה.La‘ir bah david k'hanah.The city where David encamped.
כל עוד דמעות מעינינוKol ‘od dema‘ot me‘eineinuAs long as tears from our eyes
יזלו כגשם נדבות,Yizzelu kegeshem nedavot,Flow like benevolent rain,
ורבבות מבני עמנוUrevavot mibbenei ‘ammeinuAnd throngs of our countrymen
עוד הולכים על קברי אבות;‘Od hol (e) chim ‘al kivrei avot;Still pay homage at the graves of (our) fathers;
חזרה Refrain
כל עוד חומת מחמדינוKol-‘od chomat mach (a) maddeinuAs long as our precious Wall
לעינינו מופעת,Le‘eineinu mofa‘at,Appears before our eyes,
ועל חרבן מקדשנוVe‘al churban mikdasheinuAnd over the destruction of our Temple
עין אחת עוד דומעת;‘Ayin achat ‘od doma‘at;An eye still wells up with tears;
חזרה Refrain
כל עוד מי הירדן בגאוןKol ‘od mei hayarden bega’onAs long as the waters of the Jordan
מלא גדותיו יזלו,Melo’ gedotav yizzolu,In fullness swell its banks,
ולים כנרת בשאוןUleyam kinneret besha’onAnd (down) to the Sea of Galilee
בקול המולה יפֹלו;Bekol hamulah yippolu;With tumultuous noise fall;
חזרה Refrain
כל עוד שם עלי דרכיםKol ‘od sham ‘alei drachayimAs long as on the barren highways
שער יכת שאיה,Sha‘ar yukkat she’iyah,The humbled city gates mark,
ובין חרבות ירושליםUvein charvot yerushalayimAnd among the ruins of Jerusalem
עוד בת ציון בוכיה;‘Od bat tziyon bochiyah;A daughter of Zion still cries;
חזרה Refrain
כל עוד דמעות טהורותKol ‘od dema‘ot tehorotAs long as pure tears
מעין בת עמי נוזלות,Me‘ein bat ‘ammi nozlot,Flow from the eye of a daughter of my nation,
ולבכות לציון בראש אשמורותVelivkot letziyon berosh ’ashmorotAnd to mourn for Zion at the watch of night
עוד תקום בחצי הלילות;‘Od takum bachatzi halleilot;She still rises in the middle of the nights;
חזרה Refrain
כל עוד נטפי דם בעורקינוKol ‘od nitfei dam be‘orkeinuAs long as drops of blood in our veins
רצוא ושוב יזלוRatzo’ vashov yizzolu,Flow back and forth,
ועלי קברות אבותינוVa‘alei kivrot avoteinuAnd upon the graves of our fathers
עוד אגלי טל יפלו;‘Od eglei tal yippolu;Dewdrops still fall;
חזרה Refrain
כל עוד רגש אהבת הלאוםKol ‘od regesh ahavat halle’omAs long as the feeling of love of nation
בלב היהודי פועם,Beleiv hayhudi po‘eim,Throbs in the heart of the Jew,
עוד נוכל קוות גם היום‘Od nuchal kavvot gam hayyomWe can still hope even today
כי עוד ירחמנו אל זועם;Ki ‘od yerachmeinu ’eil zo‘eim;That a wrathful God may still have mercy on us;
חזרה Refrain
שמעו אחי בארצות נודִיShim‘u achai be’artzot nudiHear, O my brothers in the lands of exile,
את קול אחד חוזינו,Et kol achad chozeinu,The voice of one of our visionaries,
כי רק עם אחרון היהודִיKi rak ‘im acharon hayhudi(Who declares) That only with the very last Jew —
גם אחרית תקותנו!Gam acharit tikvateinu!Only there is the end of our hope!
חזרה Refrain
–X– (unofficial)
לֵךְ עַמִּי, לְשָׁלוֹם שׁוּב לְאַרְצֶךָ,Lech ʻammi, leshalom shuv le’artzechaGo, my people, return in peace to your land
הַצֱּרִי בְגִלְעָד, בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם רוֹפְאֶךָ,Hatzeri vegilʻad, biYrushalayim rofechaThe balm in Gilead, your healer in Jerusalem,
רוֹפְאֶךָ יְיָ, חָכְמַת לְבָבוֹ,rofecha YY (adonai), chochmat levavoYour healer is God, the wisdom of His heart,
לֵךְ עַמִּי לְשָׁלוֹם, וּרְפוּאָה קְרוֹבָה לָבוֹא...lech ʻammi leshalom, ur (e) fuʼah k (e) rovah lavoʼ...`Go my people in peace, healing is imminent...

Alternate proposals and objections

Religious objections

Some religious Jews have criticized Hatikvah for its lack of religious emphasis: There is no mention of God or the Torah. One proposal was to switch the word «חופשי» (free, which in modern Hebrew can allude to a secular Jew being free of mitzvot) with the word «קודש» (holy), thus reading the line: «To be a holy nation», referring to the verse in Exodus 19:6 «וְאַתֶּם תִּהְיוּ לִי מַמְלֶכֶת כֹּהֲנִים וְגוֹי קָדוֹש» (you shall be for Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation).

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

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». 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.

Useful Information

Hebrew: הַתִּקְוָה, pronounced , lit. English: "The Hope"
Гимн Израиля
ивр. הַתִּקְוָה‎‎
транслит. «ха-тиква»
досл. «надежда»