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Dov Corne with a Tuki in kraf Hess Israel, 2009
photo by Rhonda Spivak


Dov Corne, Kadima,Israel, 2009
photo by Rhonda Spivak

 
THE HISTORY BEHIND HATIKVA, ISRAEL'S NATIONAL ANTHEM

By Dov Corne, age 11, Brock Corydon School, May 11, 2011

The title of the Israeli national anthem “Hatikva” means hope. It expresses the hope of the Jewish people that they would some day return to the land of their forefathers. The song represents the hope of the Jewish people because their hope for freedom never dies.
 
It was written by Naftali Herz Imber who was born in 1856. The song was originally called “Tikvatenu” which means our hope.
 
“Tikvatenu” was a poem published in 1886 but had first been read in public in 1882 to a group of farmers that lived in Rishon LeZion.
 
Imber composed his first Zionist poem when he was 10 years old. Later on in his life he moved to Jerusalem and went  around asking Zionist settlements if he could write an anthem for them. Tikvatenu became the anthem of no fewer than nine settlements. It wasn’t until 1895 that  the anthem “Tikvatenu” became “Hatikva”.
 
David Yellin, the founder of the Hebrew language committee, changed the order of the verses, and then Leib Matmon Cohen, headmaster of the Rishon Hebrew School, made big changes to the second verse so that by 1905 the version of   Hatikva that we know today was used.
 
In 1887 Imber moved to New York and died from an alcohol induced liver disease.
 
At the same time Samuel Cohen put the words of Hatikva to the music of a Romanian folk song Carl cu Boi which in English means Cart and Oxygen.
 
The reason Hatikva was chosen to be  the song for Israel’s anthem is because when David Ben Gurion declared the state of Israel, there was no time to write a new anthem and since Hatikva was ready and the Jews in Israel knew it so  Ben Gurion choose it.
   
Hatikva talks about the hope of returning to Zion, a hope the Jewish people had for 2000 years in exile. The last word of the song is “Jerusalem” but at the time in 1948 Israel did not have the Western Wall and the Old City of Jerusalem.
 
A problem of the words in Hatikva is that almost  25% of Israel’s population  is not Jewish and in the song it says “Nefesh yehudi homiya” (A Jewish soul still yearns) so many of the non Jewish Israeli’s don’t agree with that line because they are not Jewish and don’t have a Jewish soul. Some want it to be changed to say an Israeli soul.
 
 
 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.


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