The modern state of Israel is, today, 62 years old. But Israel, the Jewish homeland, is over two-thousand years old.
If G-d is the major character in the Torah, then the main supporting character is the holy land of Israel. From the moment G-d makes his promise to Abraham to provide a land for his offspring, this eternal vow becomes the narrative thread and velocity of our religious and national life.
The Hatikvah, The Hope, Israel’s national anthem, was written by the Galician Jewish poet Naphtali Herz Imber in in 1878, celebrating the establishment of Petah Tikva, one of the first Jewish settlements in Ottoman Palestine. The melody, a 17th century Italian madrigal, was arranged by Samuel Cohen, an immigrant from Moldova.
In 1919 The British Mandate government briefly banned its public performance because of Arab-Muslim opposition to a Jewish presence in the Jewish homeland.
The first line of the refrain, “Our hope is not yet lost” is a Biblical allusion to Ezekiel’s Vision of the Dried Bones.
“…Behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost.”
And then G-d brings the dead bones to life.
Just as G-d redeems the Jewish people and leads us back to the Land of Israel.
As long as in the heart, within,
A Jewish soul still yearns,
And onward, towards 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.