The title of the national anthem, HATIKVA, means "The Hope." It was written by Naftali Herz Imber (1856-1909), who moved to Palestine in 1882 from Galicia. The melody was arranged by Samuel Cohen, an immigrant from Moldavia, from a musical theme in Smetana's "Moldau" that is partly based on a Scandinavian folk song.
Hatikva expresses the hope of the Jewish people, that they would someday return to the land of their forefathers as prophesied in the Hebrew Bible. The Jewish people were exiled from Israel in 70 C.E. by the Roman army led by Titus who destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem. During the two thousand years of exile, the Jewish people said special daily prayers for return to Israel while facing the East in the direction of Jerusalem. They celebrated the holidays according to Hebrew seasons and calendar. Zion is synonymous with Israel and Jerusalem.
Hatikva - English Lyrics
As long as deep in the heart,
The soul of a Jew yearns,
And forward to the East
To Zion, an eye looks
Our hope will not be lost,
The hope of two thousand years,
To be a free nation in our land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.
Kol od balevav p'nimah כל עוד בלבב פנימה
Nefesh Yehudi homiyah נפש יהודי הומיה
Ulfa'atey mizrach kadimah ולפאתי מזרח קדימה
Ayin l'tzion tzofiyah עין לציון צופיה
Od lo avdah tikvatenu עוד לא אבדה תקותנו
Hatikvah bat shnot alpayim התקוה בת שנות אלפים
L'hiyot am chofshi b'artzenu להיות עם חופשי בארצנו
Eretz Tzion v'Yerushalayim