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Israel’s national anthem, “Hatikvah,” has a long and poignant history that traces back to a poem originally written by Naftali Herz Imber called “Tikvateinu.” This week, to mark the 76th anniversary of Israel’s founding, the historian and author Asael Abelman joins Mosaic’s editor Jonathan Silver to investigate that history. Together, they look at the biblical sources and national aspirations of the poem, examine some of the contemporary discussion surrounding it, and take stock of some of its mysteries and paradoxes. Foremost among those paradoxes is the fact that the state of Israel’s anthem is a song of longing for the day that there will be such a thing as a state of Israel.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble.