Hatikvah (Hebrew: הַתִּקְוָה, romanizedhattīqvā, [hatikˈva]; lit.'The Hope') is the national anthem of the State of Israel. Part of 19th-century Jewish poetry, the theme of the Romantic composition reflects the 2,000-year-old desire of the Jewish people to return to the Land of Israel in order to reclaim it as a free and sovereign nation-state. The piece's lyrics are adapted from a work by Naftali Herz Imber, a Jewish poet from Złoczów, Austrian Galicia.[1] Imber wrote the first version of the poem in 1877, when he was hosted by a Jewish scholar in Iași.

"The Hope"
Poem lyrics below an Israeli flag

National anthem of Israel
LyricsNaftali Herz Imber, 1877
MusicShmuel Cohen, 1887–1888
Audio sample
Instrumental rendition by the United States Navy Band



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",[2] then in Austrian Poland, today in Ukraine. His words "Lashuv le'eretz avotenu" (to return to the land of our forefathers) expressed its aspiration.[1]

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.[3] In 1887, 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.[4] 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" [he] (תִּקְוָתֵנוּ, "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{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link),[5] was subsequently adopted as an anthem by the Hovevei Zion and later by the Zionist Movement.

Before the founding 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".[6]

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.[6]

The British Mandate government briefly banned its public performance and broadcast from 1919, in response to an increase in Arab anti-Zionist political activity.[7] [page needed]

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.[8]

Adoption as the Israeli 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).[9]

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.

Melody and its origins

The melody for "Hatikvah" is based 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)[10] and the Kateryna Kucheryava (in Ukrainian).[11] 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).[12] The best-known use of the melody prior to it becoming the Zionist anthem was by 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 (also known as "The Moldau"). The melody was also used by the French composer Camille Saint-Saëns in Rhapsodie bretonne.[13]


Zionist adaptation

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).[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.

2017 boycott in UAE

In October 2017, after Israeli 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.[15][16]

Usage in film

American composer John Williams adapted "Hatikvah" in the 2005 historical drama film Munich.[17]

"Hatikvah" is also used both in the adaptation of Leon Uris's novel, Exodus, and in the 1993 film Schindler's List.[citation needed]

In 2022 Roman Shumunov filmed a TV series titled As Long as in the Heart [he] about the Israeli youth encounter with The Holocaust.

Renditions, interpretations, and usage in popular music

Barbra Streisand performed "Hatikvah" in 1978 at a televised music special called The Stars Salute Israel at 30, a performance which included a conversation by telephone and video link with former Prime Minister Golda Meir.[18]

American musician Anderson .Paak's 2016 release "Come Down" contains a sample of "Hatikvah" in English translation, attributed to producer Hi-Tek.[19]

A 2018 rendition of the anthem by Israeli Jewish singer Daniel Sa'adon that took inspiration from the Levantine music and dance style dabke caused controversy and accusations of appropriation of Palestinian culture, as well as consternation from some Israelis due to the tune's popularity with Hamas.[20] Sa'adon, however, said that his desire was to "show that the unity of cultures is possible through music",[21] and that he has a longtime appreciation for Southwest Asian and North African musical styles, having grown up with Tunisian music in the home.[22] Sa'adon said that despite receiving "abusive comments" from both the right and the left of the political spectrum, he also received praise from friends and colleagues in the music world, including Arab citizens of Israel.[23]


Imber's handwritten text of the poem

The official text of the Israeli 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[b] and English translation are listed below.

Official Hebrew lyrics

Modern Hebrew original Transliteration IPA phonemic transcription[c]

כֹּל עוֹד בַּלֵּבָב פְּנִימָה
נֶפֶשׁ יְהוּדִי הוֹמִיָּה,
וּלְפַאֲתֵי מִזְרָח קָדִימָה,
עַיִן לְצִיּוֹן צוֹפִיָּה;

עוֹד לֹא אָבְדָה תִּקְוָתֵנוּ,
הַתִּקְוָה בַּת שְׁנוֹת אַלְפַּיִם,
𝄇 לִהְיוֹת עַם חָפְשִׁי בְּאַרְצֵנוּ,
אֶרֶץ צִיּוֹן וִירוּשָׁלַיִם.𝄆

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

‘Od lo avdah tikvatenu,
Hatikvah bat shnot ’alpayim,
𝄆 Lihyot ‘am chofshi be’artzenu,
’Eretz Tziyon v'Yerushalayim. 𝄇

/kol od ba.le.vav pe.ni.ma/
/ne.feʃ je.hu.di ho.mi.ja |/
/ul.fa.ʔa.tey miz.ʁaχ ka.di.ma |/
/a.jin le.t͡si.jon t͡so.fi.ja |/

/od lo av.da tik.va.te.nu |/
/ha.tik.va bat ʃnot al.pa.jim |/
𝄆 /lih.jot am χof.ʃi be.ʔaʁ.t͡se.nu |/
/e.ʁet͡s t͡si.jon ve.ye.ʁu.ʃa.la.jim ‖/ 𝄇

English translation

Literal Poetic[24]

As long as in the heart, within,
The Jewish soul yearns,
And towards the ends of the east,
[The Jewish] eye gazes toward Zion,

Our hope is not yet lost,
The hope of two thousand years,
𝄆 To be a free nation in our own land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem. 𝄇

O while within a Jewish breast,
Beats true a Jewish heart,
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. 𝄇

Original lyrics

Modern Hebrew original[25] English translation

עוֹד לֹא אָבְדָה תִּקְוָתֵנוּ
הַתִּקְוָה הַנּוֹשָׁנָה
לָשּׁוּב לָאָרֶץ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ
לְעִיר בָּהּ דָּוִד חָנָה.

כָּל עוֹד בִּלְבָבוֹ שָׁם פְּנִימָה
נֶפֶשׁ יְהוּדִי הוֹמִיָּה
𝄇 וּלְפַאֲתֵי מִזְרָח קָדִימָה
עֵינוֹ לְצִיּוֹן צוֹפִיָּה. 𝄆

כָּל עוֹד דְּמָעוֹת מֵעֵינֵינוּ
תֵּרֵדְנָה כְּגֶשֶׁם נְדָבוֹת
וּרְבָבוֹת מִבְּנֵי עַמֵּנוּ
עוֹד הוֹלְכִים לְקִבְרֵי־אָבוֹת.

כָּל עוֹד חוֹמַת־מַחְמַדֵּינוּ
עוֹד לְעֵינֵינוּ מֵיפַעַת
𝄇 וַעֲלֵי חֻרְבַּן מִקְדָּשֵׁנוּ
עַיִן אַחַת עוֹד דּוֹמַעַת.𝄆

כָּל עוֹד הַיַּרְדֵּן בְּגָאוֹן
מְלֹא גְּדוֹתָיו יִזֹלוּ
וּלְיָם כִּנֶּרֶת בְּשָׁאוֹן
בְּקוֹל הֲמֻלָּה יִפֹּלוּן.

כָּל עוֹד שָׁם עֲלֵי דְּרָכַיִם
שָׁם שַׁעַר יֻכַּת שְׁאִיָּה
𝄇 וּבֵין חָרְבוֹת יְרוּשָׁלַיִם
עוֹד בַּת־צִיּוֹן בּוֹכִיָּה.𝄆

כָּל עוֹד שָׁמָּה דְּמָעוֹת טְהוֹרוֹת
מֵעֵין־עַמִּי נוֹזְלוֹת
לִבְכּוֹת לְצִיּוֹן בְּרֹאש אַשְׁמוֹרוֹת
יָקוּם בַּחֲצִי הַלֵּילוֹת.

כָּל עוֹד רֶגֶשׁ אַהֲבַת־הַלְּאֹם
בְּלֵב הַיְּהוּדִי פּוֹעֵם
𝄇 עוֹד נוּכַל קַוֵּה גַּם הַיּוֹם
כִּי יְרַחֲמֵנוּ אֵל זוֹעֵם.𝄆

שִׁמְעוּ אַחַי בְּאַרְצוֹת נוּדִי
אֶת קוֹל אַחַד חוֹזֵינוּ
𝄇 "כִּי רַק עִם אַחֲרוֹן הַיְּהוּדִי
גַּם אַחֲרִית תִּקְוָתֵנוּ".𝄆

Our hope is not yet lost,
The ancient hope,
To return to the land of our fathers;
The city where David encamped.

As long as in his heart within,
A soul of a Jew still yearns,
𝄆 And onwards towards the ends of the east,
His eye still looks towards Zion. 𝄇

As long as tears from our eyes
Flow like benevolent rain,
And throngs of our countrymen
Still pay homage at the graves of our fathers.

As long as our precious Wall
Appears before our eyes,
𝄆 And over the destruction of our Temple
An eye still wells up with tears. 𝄇

As long as the waters of the Jordan
In fullness swell its banks,
And down to the Sea of Galilee
With tumultuous noise fall.

As long as on the barren highways
The humbled city-gates mark,
𝄆 And among the ruins of Jerusalem
A daughter of Zion still cries. 𝄇

As long as pure tears
Flow from the eye of a daughter of my nation
And to mourn for Zion at the watch of night
She still rises in the middle of the nights.

As long as the feeling of love of nation
Throbs in the heart of a Jew,
𝄆 We can still hope even today
That a wrathful God may have mercy on us. 𝄇

Hear, oh my brothers in the lands of exile,
The voice of one of our visionaries,
𝄆 [Who declares] that only with the very last Jew,
Only there is the end of our hope! 𝄇


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").

Objections and alternate proposals

By religious Jews

Some religious Jews have criticised "Hatikvah" for the song's lack of religious emphasis: there is no mention of God or the Torah in its lyrics.[26][better source needed]

Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook wrote an alternative anthem titled "HaEmunah" ("The Faith") which he proposed as a replacement for "Hatikvah", while still endorsing the original anthem.[27]

J. Simcha Cohen wrote[1] that Dovid Lifshitz used "Lihyot am dati": "to be a religious nation [in our land]."

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 2,000-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, despite the fact that many other religious countries also have anthems emphasising their religion.

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.[28]

Specifically, Israeli-Arabs 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. Notable persons whose refusal to sing Hatikvah was brought to public attention include Druze politician Saleh Tarif, the first non-Jew appointed to the Israeli cabinet between 2001 and 2022,[29] Raleb Majadale, the first Muslim to be appointed as a minister in the Israeli cabinet between 2007 and 2009,[30] and Salim Joubran, an Israeli Arab who served as a Supreme Court justice between 2003 and 2017.[31] For this reason from time to time proposals have been made to change the national anthem or to modify the text to make it inclusive of non-Jewish Israelis.[32]

See also



  1. ^ Officially adopted in 2004, legally decreed in 2018 through Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ See Help:IPA/Hebrew and Modern Hebrew phonology.


  1. ^ a b c "The Hatikva Text". The Jewish Press. 1 May 1998. p. 17.
  2. ^ Weiss, Jakob (2011), The Lemberg Mosaic, New York: Alderbrook, p. 59.
  3. ^ Tobianah, Vicky (12 May 2012). "Pianist explores Hatikva's origins". Canadian Jewish News. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  4. ^ Seroussi, Edwin (2015). "Hatikvah: Conceptions, Receptions and Reflections". Yuval – Studies of the Jewish Music Research Centre. IX. Jewish Music Research Centre (JMRC), The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Retrieved 6 January 2021 – via JMRC website.
  5. ^ Naphtali Herz Imber (1904) Barkoi or The Blood Avenger, A. H. Rosenberg, New York (Hebrew and English)
  6. ^ a b "Hatikvah: Conceptions, Receptions and Reflections". Jewish Music Research Centre. Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 1 December 2009. Retrieved 20 December 2020.
  7. ^ Morris, B (1999), Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist–Arab Conflict, 1881–1999, Knopf, ISBN 9780307788054.
  8. ^ Gilbert, Shirli, Music in the Holocaust: Confronting Life in the Nazi Ghettos and Camps, p. 154.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Lyrics: https://lyricstranslate.com/en/cucuruz-cu-frunza-n-sus-traditional-version-no-2-maize-raised-leaf-traditional-version.html
  11. ^ IV. Musical examples: Baroque and classic eras; Torban Tuning and repertoire, Torban.
  12. ^ kultura, Zdenko Matoz (26 September 2014). "Il Divo – poperetni fenomen". delo.si.
  13. ^ "La Mantovana : un air classique, populaire et politique", francemusique.fr, 17 February 2021 (in French)
  14. ^ Lyrics: https://lyricstranslate.com/en/carul-cu-boi-ox-driven-cart.html
  15. ^ "Israeli wins judo gold in UAE, which refuses to play anthem, raise flag". www.timesofisrael.com.
  16. ^ "Abu Dhabi Grand Slam 2017 / IJF.org". ijf.org.
  17. ^ "Hatikva (The Hope) (from Munich)" – via halleonard.com/.
  18. ^ Edwards, Anne (15 February 2016). Streisand: A Biography. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-63076-129-5.
  19. ^ Balfour, Jay. "Best new track: Anderson .Paak, "Come Down"". Pitchfork. Condé Nast. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  20. ^ Mashali, Linoy (25 April 2018). "The religious singer who turned the anthem "Hatikva" into an Arab hit". Srugim. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  21. ^ Campos, Daniel. "The Fuss About a Dabke Israeli Anthem". i24NEWS English. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  22. ^ Maksimov, Ehud. ""ולפאתי מזרח: הישראלי שגורם לערבים לשיר את "התקווה". Makor Rishon. מקור ראשון. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  23. ^ רוזנבלט, אלה (4 May 2018). "מוזיקאי דתי ובוגר ישיבת מרכז הרב הפך את המנון התקווה ללהיט ערבי (וידאו)". isNet. AshdodNet. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  24. ^ Jewish National and Zion Songs: In Hebrew, Jewish and English. With Music (in Hebrew). Hebrew Publishing Company. 1915.
  25. ^ Marx, Dalia. "Tikvatenu: The Poem that Inspired Israel's National Anthem, Hatikva". TheTorah.com. Retrieved 7 November 2023.
  26. ^ Yosef Y. Jacobson, Bentching vs. Hatikva; Torah vs. the UN, Chabad.org, originally published in summer 2013, accessed 30 January 2019
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ Margalit, Avishai; Halbertal, Moshe (2004). "Liberalism and the Right to Culture". Social Research: An International Quarterly. 71 (3). Johns Hopkins University Press: 494–497. doi:10.1353/sor.2004.0025. S2CID 141158881.
  29. ^ "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.
  30. ^ Meranda, Amnon (17 March 2007). "Majadele refuses to sing national anthem". Ynetnews. Ynet News. 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.
  31. ^ 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.
  32. ^ Philologos (27 March 2012). "Rewriting 'Hatikvah' as Anthem for All". The Jewish Daily Forward. Retrieved 29 April 2012.