44. Tikvatenu/Hatikva
Written by Naftali Herz Imber, 1878
Performed by Jewish survivors of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, five days after their liberation by Allied forces.
Recorded by British Broadcasting Corporation, 20 April 1945
Listen via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatikvah



One: The world in the song


And thus it will be: just the poor and simple, who do not know what power man already exercises over the forces of Nature, just these will have the firmest faith in the new message. For these have never lost their hope of the Promised Land.

- The Jewish State – Conclusion, by Theodore Herzl, 1896 http://www.jewiwshvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Zionism/Herzl12f.html


‘As we went deeper into the camp and further from the main gate, we saw more and more of the horrors of the place. And I realised that what is so ghastly is not the individual acts of barbarism that take place in the S.S camps, but the gradual breakdown of civilisation that happens when people are herded behind barbed wire.’

- Richard Dimbleby. The broadcaster recounts the horror of Belsen, BBC broadcast, April 19, 1945. From – WWII: Witnessing the Holocaust – Personal accounts of persecution and genocide by the Nazi regime. http://www.bbc.co.uk/archove/holocaust/5115


Two: The song in the world

The First Zionist Congress is the name given to the congress held in Basel (Basle), Switzerland, from August 29 to August 31, 1897. It was the first congress of the Zionist Organization (ZO) (to become the World Zionist Organization (WZO) in 1960). It was called for and chaired by Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism. The major achievements of the Congress were its formulation of the Zionist platform, known as the Basle program, the foundation of the World Zionist Organization, and the adoption of Hatikvah as its anthem (already the anthem of Hovevei Zion and later to become the national anthem of the State of Israel).

- www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Zionist_Congress


More from Wiki: ‘The anthem was written by Naphtali Herz Imber, a secular Galician Jew, who moved to Palestine in the early 1880s. The anthem’s theme revolves around the nearly 2000-year-old hope of the Jewish people to be a free and sovereign people in the Land of Israel, a national dream that would eventually be realized with the founding of the modern State of Israel in 1948.

The text of Hatikvah was written by Imber in Zolochiv (Ukraine) in 1878 as a nine-stanza poem named Tikvatenu (‘Our Hope’) (see full text below). In this poem Imber puts into words his thoughts and feelings in the wake of the establishment of Petah Tikva, one of the first Jewish settlements in pre-State Palestine. Published in Imber’s first book, Barkai the poem was subsequently adopted as the anthem of Hovevei Zion and later of the Zionist Movement at the First Zionist Congress in 1897. The text was later revised by the settlers of Rishon LeZion, subsequently undergoing a number of other changes.

The melody, of folk origin, was arranged by Samuel Cohen, an immigrant from Moldavia.

Adoption as national anthem

When the State of Israel was declared in 1948, ha-Tikvah was unofficially proclaimed the national anthem. However, it did not officially become the national anthem until November 2004, when it was sanctioned by the Knesset in an amendment to the ‘Flag and Coat-of-Arms Law’ (now called ‘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 Eretz Israel, a hope largely seen as fulfilled with the founding of the State of Israel.

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. Notably, Ghaleb Majadale, who in January 2007 became the first Arab 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.

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; however, no such proposals have succeeded in gaining broad support.

The 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.

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

Our hope is not yet lost,
the hope of two thousand years,
To be a free people in our Land
The land of Zion and Jerusalem

Below is the full text of the original nine-stanza poem Tikvatenu by Naftali Herz Imber.

As long as in the heart, within,
A Jewish soul still yearns,
And onward, toward the ends of the east,
An eye still looks toward Zion:


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 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 he middle of the nights;


As long as drops of blood in our veins
Flow back and forth
And upon the graves of our fathers
Dewdrops still fall


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


Hear, O 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!


Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatikvah


Three: Before the song

In the future, when it will be of little use to the victims, the world will undoubtedly correct its bizarre and outrageous misjudgement of the Palestinian situation. In the future, historians and sociologists and psychologists will find reasons to explain not simply how an injustice came to be perpetrated against an entire people – for this is common – but also how the victims came to be seen as the aggressors, and their aggressors as the victims.

Like most third world people, the Palestinians came from an area that has seen successive invasions and conquests. Biblical Palestine was settled by the Canaanites around 2500 BC; the Hebrews invaded around 1200. Following the split of the Hebrew Kingdom into Israel in the North and Judea in the South in the tenth century, the Assyrians swept over the North in 722, and the Babylonians ended the rule of Judea in the South in 586. The Persians took over in 538, the Greeks in 331 and the Romans in 64 BC. The Islamic conquests reached Palestine in 636. From 1099 to 1187, the Christian Crusaders occupied Jerusalem.

The Ottoman Turks came to power in 1517 and maintained their rule until they were defeated by the Allies in 1917. The Allied Powers had gained the support of the Arabs against the Turks with promises of independence. Meanwhile, in 1916, Britain and France had secretly concluded the Sykes-Picot Treaty dividing the Ottoman Empire between themselves. Thus, Palestine passed from Turkish domination not to independence, but to a far harsher British rule. Not only were the Palestinians denied their promised right to self-determination along with the rest of the Arab world, but they were to lose even the right to continue to live in their native land.

In 1917 the Balfour Declaration was issued, announcing that ‘His Majesty’s Government view(s) with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people,.. it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country. ‘ At that time there were 56,000 Jews living in Palestine – 8% of the total population, owning 2-1/2% of the land.

There had been a nascent Zionist movement in Europe since the end of the nineteenth century, when small groups of East European Jews actively began preaching the return to Palestine. Their ‘spiritual’ Zionism, however, was supplanted by ‘political’ Zionism at the turn of the century, spearheaded by the Austrian journalist Theodore Herzl.

In 1896 Herzl published a tract entitled ‘The Jewish State,’ in which he called for a self-governing ‘aristocratic republic’ of Jews outside of Europe. This he saw as the only solution to rampant anti-Semitism, which had manifested itself in the pogroms in Eastern Europe and in the Dreyfus Affair in France. A Zionist Congress was convened in 1897 and a World Zionist Organization established. Herzl himself went from monarch to monarch seeking support for the Jewish state. In his book, he expressed a preference for Palestine, but was willing to consider other alternatives, which later included South America, the Belgian Congo, Mozambique, Cyprus and Libya. In 1903 the Sixth Zionist Congress voted to accept a British offer of Uganda for the Jewish National Home, although this was rejected by the Seventh Zionist Congress two years later. Herzl himself considered Zionism a ‘colonial idea’ (Diaries). The Jewish State in Palestine, he wrote in his book, would be a ‘part of the rampart of Europe against Asia…an outpost of culture against barbarism.’

Source: The history of modern Palestine in brief, by Miriam Rosen. Liner notes to Palestine Lives! Songs from the Struggle of the people of Palestine, Paredon Records, USA, 1974



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