History of Israel’s National Anthem: Does HaTikvah Mean Hope for All?

Hatikvah – But is it hope for all?

We’re looking at one of the most Israeli things out there – HaTikvah, or The Hope – Israel’s stirring, meaningful and, some might say, controversial national anthem.

Unlike other anthems that speak of triumph and victory, the Israeli anthem is a mash up between a Romanian folk-melody, a 16th-century Italian song, and the lyrical thoughts of a drunk romantic poet. Not exactly the stuff of nationalistic dreams, but like the State of Israel itself, Hatikvah is both a symbol of Jewish hope and identity and the anthem for a multicultural and multi-ethnic state dedicated to equality.

Whew, that’s a lot of pressure for a two-verse song.

So what exactly is so controversial about this hopeful song and why do some Israelis refuse to stand up when it’s played (which can be a controversy all of its own)?

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