When Hatikvah was banned 99 years ago, the Jewish People kept singing

by Shira Epstein

The Hatikva is the israeli national anthem, but did you know that the Hatikva was actually composed before the State of Israel even existed? In fact, the Hatikva was actually banned 99 years ago, but nothing was going to deter the Jews and they kept on singing anyway!

The Hatikva was originally a poem that was composed in 1886 by Naftali Herz Imber. Shortly after Samuel Cohen wrote the melody to accompany the poem, it turned into the song of identity for the Jewish people.

The Hatikva – The Hope

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.

The history of the Hatikva

The Hatikva was written in the late 19th century. It was then chosen to be the anthem of the First Zionist Congress in 1897. In 1919 the British Mandate, rulers of Palestine at the time, banned the song due to Arab political pressure.  There is also a story that the Hatikva was actually sung at the entrance to the gas chambers in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The words of the Israeli national anthem still ring true and relevant today. Jews around the world stand and sing the Hatikva on many occasions. Our hopes and prayers have not changed.

The words of the Hatikva reflect the nation of Israel and what we yearn for everyday. We want to be able to be free, to be proud to be Jewish and to live in our homeland, Israel. Even with the State of Israel in existence, we are not complete. We still feel a void that needs filling. There is so much to celebrate about the State of Israel and we are thankful and grateful for what we do have. However, at the same time we yearn and pray for the complete dream. The dream of a complete Jerusalem with the building of the third temple and times of peace.

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