HaTikvah, Israel’s national anthem, describes the hope of the Jewish people to be free in the Land of Israel. This hope has sustained Jews throughout centuries of exile and persecution, and today it continues to epitomize the hope of the nation for a peaceful life in the State of Israel. The story of HaTikvah parallels the evolution of Zionism (1800s), the waves of immigration (Aliyot), the concurrent development of the Yishuv (1880-1947), Israel’s statehood (1948), and the quest to define Israeli identity over the past six decades. The story’s most recent chapters culminate in HaTikvah’s enactment in Israeli law as the official national anthem in 2004, and within the contents of Israel’s newest Basic Law, the Nation-State Law, which passed in July 2018. However, the story does not end with these laws. Israelis continue to cover “HaTikvah” in unique artistic ways that raise new ideas about how the people connect to the land and challenge long held beliefs and values. The activities in this unit are starting points for introducing Israeli music into the classroom as a tool for teaching about Zionism, statehood, Jewish history, challenges and hopes. For an in-depth exploration of the history of the Israeli anthem, consider the online resources below.
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