15.07.2011 13.Tammus, 5771
National symbols rarely make sense and too often tend to be fetishized. When we research their history, we come up with embarrassing details. 'Hatikva' does not bear scrutiny.
Four years ago, I was standing in the lobby of the auditorium of a Russian holiday resort, two hours from Moscow, chatting with some colleagues. Suddenly I heard a familiar tune, broke off the conversation in mid-sentence, and rushed inside to stand to attention and sing "Hatikva" with the crowd.
Instinctively, I felt at that moment there was something historically poignant about playing the Israeli national anthem in a land where, for decades, even the study of Hebrew could get you carted off to Siberia – which was what had happened to Yosef Begun, a childhood hero of mine, who I had seen an hour earlier, sitting at ease, drinking tea with admiring youngsters around him….