By Abbigail Klein
For Mitzpeh

Views expressed in opinion columns are the author’s own.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

It is a sensation like no other landing in one of the greatest countries  hearing the national anthem of Israel, “Hatikva,” play throughout the entire airplane. This poem, translated as “The Hope” was “unofficially” declared the national anthem when Israel was established in 1948.

On the other hand, “The Star-Spangled Banner”, was proclaimed the national anthem of the United States of America by a “congressional resolution” in 1931. They both connect multicultural people to a singular nation. Both the U.S. and Israel are home to a wide range of people with different backgrounds and different ideologies.

Unfortunately,  there has been controversy between the citizens of the United States and their national anthem. In this aspect, Israel’s relationship with “Hatikva” is different.

In Israel, a country that many people want to blow off the map, this song provides a sense of unity and spiritual belonging. I am not saying “The Star-Spangled Banner” does not have this impact. However, the different protests taking place have created a new understanding for the U.S. and its anthem.

I am a strong believer in both anthems, as they both have a special place in my heart. For the U.S., soldiers fight for our opportunity to belt out this hymn whether it is during sporting events or even just because we can. However, every citizen of the State of Israel must serve in the army. When they turn 18, they join the Israeli Defense Forces.It is not an option, it is a requirement. I believe many here see it as disrespectful to kneel or even protest against “Hatikva.”

“Hatikva” symbolizes the right of the Jewish people to live in Israel, and it resembles the connection between the Jewish people to the land of Israel. To many Americans, we only sing the national anthem sometimes and when we do, it is not really a tangible energy. We do not sing the national anthem when there is a tragedy, and we do not sing it when people need healing.

In contrast, “Hatikva” carries a different social implication. This could be because Israel is a nation state, not a civic state like the U.S. Could any American think of a moment in U.S. history when a whole city stopped to sing together? This consistently happens in Israel. The nation itself carries an emotional attachment to their anthem.

This isn’t  about nationalism, because the U.S. is deeply rooted in nationalism. However, the “Hatikva” is a song that encompasses a spiritual belonging, beyond citizenship.


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