The Israeli national anthem has been in use for more than 60 years now and has served as an emotional response by the Jewish people in the post-war era. However, not many people know that the lyrics which make up most of the anthem were taken from a poem written by a not so famous Zionist by the name of Imber.
Hatikvah’ s lyrics were written by Naphatali Herz Imber in 1877 while he was straying with one of his Jewish friends in Iasi (Jassy) Romania. Although you might not even know where this is, it is important to say that Iasi was one of the cultural centers of Yiddish culture. It was the home of 40 thousands Jews, the Yiddish Theater( under Abraham Goldfaden), and the true roots of klezmer music.
I find it interesting that Hatikva- The Hope- the words which are still extremely relevant and important to millions of Jews and Israelis, were written in the town of Jassy, quite an insignificant part of the world- as some might be willing to believe.
The point which must be stressed without a doubt is that here we have Jassy, not the largest town in the world, but one where the Jewish community formed a large community in Eastern Europe. Still of all the places in Eastern Europe for the national anthem of Israel to take place, it was Jassy.
Although Imber was born an Ukrainian Jew, it would be interesting to fin out what the particular climate or the circumstances were that sparked the will to write the poem while his stay in Jassy.
Hatikvah in English.
As long as the Jewish spirit is yearning deep in the heart,
With eyes turned toward the East, looking toward Zion,
Then our hope – the two-thousand-year-old hope – will not be lost:
To be a free people in our land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.
Hatikvah in Hebrew.
כָּל 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.
Photo Source: http://vincemd.blogspot.ca/2011_08_01_archive.html