Boris Lozhkin
Boris Lozhkin
President of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine and Vice-President of the World Jewish Congress

Celebrating famous Jews from Ukraine: Naftali Herz Imber

Although born in Zolochiv Naftali Herz Imber wrote the lyrics of the national anthem of Israel Hatikvah back in 1877, and by 1900 they sang it in all Jewish settlements in Palestine and at the congresses of Zionist organizations, it received the status of an official anthem from the Knesset only in 2004.
The legislators’ claims were not to the lyrics written to the event of formation of the first agricultural Jewish settlement Petah Tikva, but to the music.
In the melody of the anthem, music experts felt the inflections of the Moldovan song Ois-tsi, the medieval Italian La Mantovana or the Spanish Virgen de la Cueva, and sometimes even the Ukrainian Kateryna Kucheryava. Reproaches for the lack of authenticity led several times to attempts to write a new anthem, but the century-old nationwide popularity eventually prevailed.
The success of the anthem was in no small measure contributed to by Imber himself, who traveled to Palestine at the end of the 19th century and readily accepted all invitations to feasts, during which he recited his poems. Hatikvah is based on the first stanza of the poem Tikvateinu (Our Hope):
As long as in the heart, within,
A Jewish soul still yearns,
And onward, towards 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.

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About the Author
Boris Lozhkin is a Ukrainian entrepreneur, philanthropist and author. He is President of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine and Vice-President of the World Jewish Congress.
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