"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, restoring it, 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.

English: The Hope
The lyrics of "Hatikvah" below an Israeli flag

National anthem of  Israel
LyricsNaftali Herz Imber, 1878
MusicSamuel Cohen, 1888
Adopted1897 (by the First Zionist Congress)
1948 (by Israel, provisionally)
2004 (by Israel, officially)
2018 (by Israel, Basic Law)
Audio sample
"Hatikvah" (instrumental)
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The text of Hatikvah was written in 1878 by Naphtali Herz Imber, a Jewish poet from Zolochiv (Polish: Złoczów), a city nicknamed "The City of Poets",[1] then in Austrian Poland, today in Ukraine. In 1882 Imber immigrated to Ottoman-ruled Palestine and read his poem to the pioneers of the early Jewish villages - Rishon Lezion, Rehovot, Gedera, and Yesud Hama'ala.[2]

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,[3] 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 organisational anthem of the First Zionist Congress in 1897.[4]

The British Mandate government briefly banned its public performance and broadcast from 1919, in response to an increase in Arab anti-Zionist political activity.[5]

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.[6]

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[4] 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)[7][8] and the Kateryna Kucheryava (in Ukrainian).[9] 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).[10] 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).[11]

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].[12][13][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.

Use in sporting events

The Israeli national anthem is used in several European sporting events[15] since the Arab states barred Israel from participating in their own continent's sporting bodies. 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.[16][17]

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[lower-alpha 1] and English translation are listed below.

Hebrew lyrics

Modern Hebrew Transliteration Phonemic transcription (IPA)
First verse

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

Kol od balevav penimah
Nefesh Yehudi homiyah,
Ulfaate mizrach kadimah,
Ayin leTziyon tzofiyah;

/kol od balevav penima/
/nefeʃ jehudi homija |/
/ulfaʔate mizʁaχ kadima |/
/ajin let͡sijon t͡sofija |/

Second verse

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

Od lo avdah tikvatenu,
Hatikvah bat shnot alpayim,
Lihyot am chofshi beartzenu,
Eretz-Tziyon virushalayim.

/od lo avda tikvatenu |/
/hatikva bat ʃnot alpajim |/
/lihjot am χofʃi beʔaʁt͡senu |/
/eʁet͡s t͡sijon viʁuʃalajim ‖/


Arabic script Romanisation of Arabic

طالما في القلب تكمن،
نفس يهودية تتوق،
وللأمام نحو الشرق،
عين تنظر إلى صهيون.

أملنا لم يضع بعد،
أمل عمره ألفا سنة،
أن نكون أمّة حرّة في أرضنا أرض صهيون و أورشليم .

Ṭālamā fī al-qalb takmun,
Nafsun yahūdiyya tatuq,
Wa-lilʾamām naḥwa aš-šarq,
ʿAynun tanẓuru ʾilá ṣahyūn.

ʾAmalunā lam yaḍaʿ baʿd,
ʾAmalun ʿumruhu ʾal-fāni sana,
ʾAn nakūn ʾummatan ḥurra fī bilādinā,
Bilādu ṣahyūn waʾūrušalīm al-quds.

English translation

Literal Poetic

As long as in the heart, within,
A Jewish soul still yearns,
And onward, towards the ends of the east,
an eye still gazes toward Zion;

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

O while within a Jewish heart,
Yearns true a Jewish soul,
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.

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 Tikvatenu

Below is the full text of the 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.

Hebrew Transliteration English translation
כל עוד בלבב פנימה Kol-‘od balevav penimah As long as in the heart, within,
נפש יהודי הומיה, Nefesh yehudi homiyah, A Jewish soul still yearns,
ולפאתי מזרח קדימה, Ulfa’ate 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 tikvatenu, Our hope is not yet lost,
התקוה הנושנה, Hatikvah hannoshanah, The ancient hope,
לשוב לארץ אבותינו, Lashuv le’eretz avotenu, 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 מעינינו Kol ‘od dema‘ot me‘enenu As long as tears from our eyes
יזלו כגשם נדבות, Yizzelu kegeshem nedavot, Flow like benevolent rain,
ורבבות מבני עמנו Urevavot mibbne ‘ammenu And throngs of our countrymen
עוד הולכים על קברי אבות; ‘Od holchim ‘al kivre avot; Still pay homage at the graves of (our) fathers;
חזרה   Refrain
כל עוד חומת מחמדינו Kol-‘od chomat mach(a)maddenu As long as our precious Wall
לעינינו מופעת, Le‘enenu mofa‘at, Appears before our eyes,
ועל חרבן מקדשנו Ve‘al churban mikdashenu And 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 בגאון Kol ‘od me hayarden bega’on As long as the waters of the Jordan
מלא גדותיו יזלו, Melo’ gedotav yizzolu, In fullness swell its banks,
ולים כנרת בשאון Uleyam kinneret besha’on And (down) to the Sea of Galilee
בקול המולה יפֹלו; Bekol hamulah yippolu; With tumultuous noise fall;
חזרה   Refrain
כל עוד שם עלי דרכים Kol ‘od sham ‘ale drachayim As long as on the barren highways
שער יכת שאיה, Sha‘ar yukkat she’iyah, The humbled city gates mark,
ובין חרבות ירושלים Uven charvot yerushalayim And among the ruins of Jerusalem
עוד בת ציון בוכיה; ‘Od bat tziyon bochiyah; A daughter of Zion still cries;
חזרה   Refrain
כל עוד דמעות טהורות Kol ‘od dema‘ot tehorot As long as pure tears
מעין בת עמי נוזלות, Me‘ayn bat ‘ammi nozlot, Flow from the eye of a daughter of my nation,
ולבכות לציון בראש אשמורות Velivkot letziyon berosh ’ashmorot And to mourn for Zion at the watch of night
עוד תקום בחצי הלילות; ‘Od takum bachatzi hallelot; She still rises in the middle of the nights;
חזרה   Refrain
כל עוד נטפי דם בעורקינו Kol ‘od nitfe dam be‘orkenu As long as drops of blood in our veins
רצוא ושוב יזלו Ratzo’ vashov yizzolu, Flow back and forth,
ועלי קברות אבותינו Va‘ale kivrot avotenu And upon the graves of our fathers
עוד אגלי טל יפלו; ‘Od egle tal yippolu; Dewdrops still fall;
חזרה   Refrain
כל עוד רגש אהבת הלאום Kol ‘od regesh ahavat halle’om As long as the feeling of love of nation
בלב היהודי פועם, Belev hayehudi po‘em, Throbs in the heart of the Jew,
עוד נוכל קוות גם היום ‘Od nuchal kavvot gam hayyom We can still hope even today
כי עוד ירחמנו אל זועם; Ki ‘od yerachmenu ’el zo‘em; That God may still have mercy on us;
חזרה   Refrain
שמעו אחי בארצות נודִי Shim‘u achai be’artzot nudi Hear, O my brothers in the lands of exile,
את קול אחד חוזינו, Et kol achad chozenu, The voice of one of our visionaries,
כי רק עם אחרון היהודִי Ki rak ‘im acharon hayehudi (Who declares) That only with the very last Jew —
גם אחרית תקותנו! Gam acharit tikvatenu! Only there is the end of our hope!
חזרה   Refrain
X (unofficial)
לֵךְ עַמִּי, לְשָׁלוֹם שׁוּב לְאַרְצֶךָ, Lech ʻammi, leshalom shuv le’artzecha Go, my people, return in peace to your land
הַצֱּרִי בְגִלְעָד, בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם רוֹפְאֶךָ, Hatzeri vegilʻad, biYerushalayim rofecha The balm in Gilead, your healer in Jerusalem,
רוֹפְאֶךָ יְיָ, חָכְמַת לְבָבוֹ, rofecha YY (adonai), chochmat levavo Your 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

Objections by religious Jews

Some religious Jews have criticised "Hatikvah" for its lack of religious emphasis: There is no mention of God or the Torah.[18]

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.[19]

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 religious 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.[20]

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".[21] 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.[22] 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.[23]

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.[24][25] To date no such proposals have succeeded in gaining broad support.

See also


  1. 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.


  1. Weiss, Jakob (2011), The Lemberg Mosaic, New York: Alderbrook, p. 59.
  2. Tobianah, Vicky (12 May 2012). "Pianist explores Hatikva's origins". cjnews.com. Canadian Jewish News. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  3. Naphtali Herz Imber (1904) Barkoi or The Blood Avenger, A.H. Rosenberg, New York (Hebrew and English)
  4. Vivian Eden (24 August 2015). "Evil Spirits Lurking in Israel's National Anthem". Haaretz. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  5. Morris, B (1999), Righteous victims: a history of the Zionist-Arab conflict, 1881–1999, Knopf.
  6. Gilbert, Shirli, Music in the Holocaust: Confronting Life in the Nazi Ghettos and Camps, p. 154.
  7. "Cucuruz cu frunza-n sus - Didina Curea" via www.youtube.com.
  8. Lyrics: https://lyricstranslate.com/en/cucuruz-cu-frunza-n-sus-traditional-version-no-2-maize-raised-leaf-traditional-version.html
  9. IV. Musical examples: Baroque and classic eras; Torban Tuning and repertoire, Torban.
  10. kultura, Zdenko Matoz (26 September 2014). "Il Divo – poperetni fenomen". www.delo.si.
  11. "Smetana - Die Moldau (Karajan)" via www.youtube.com.
  12. "Carul cu boi" via www.youtube.com.
  13. "נתן כוגן - מנגינת התקווה (שיר עם רומני)" via www.youtube.com.
  14. Lyrics: https://lyricstranslate.com/en/carul-cu-boi-ox-driven-cart.html
  15. "Israeli judoka wins gold, hears Hatikva at Europe championship". Israel National News.
  16. "Israeli wins judo gold in UAE, which refuses to play anthem, raise flag".
  17. "Abu Dhabi Grand Slam 2017 / IJF.org". www.ijf.org.
  18. Yosef Y. Jacobson, Bentching vs. Hatikva; Torah vs. the UN, Chabad.org, originally published in summer 2013, accessed 30 January 2019
  19. 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.
  20. Margalit, Avishai; Halbertal, Moshe. "Liberalism and the Right to Culture". Social Research: An International Quarterly. Johns Hopkins University Press. 71: 494–497.
  21. "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.
  22. "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.
  23. 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.
  24. Philologos. "Rewriting 'Hatikvah' as Anthem for All". The Jewish Daily Forward. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
  25. Carlebach, Neshama. "An Anthem For All?". The Jewish Daily Forward (recording). Retrieved 29 April 2012.. A proposed modified version.

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