Mixtape Companion: Part 2

Music and song play a central role in Israel’s culture. From the early pioneers, who adapted their songs to their new homeland, to the contemporary sound and verse of today’s poets and lyricists – the playlist evolves to reflect the changing history of Israel.

These materials harness the power of music to inspire connections to the land and people of Israel. Mixtape, an Israel Story podcast miniseries, provides an in-depth exploration of Israel’s ultimate playlist. This four-part musical journey takes us through anthems, songs of yearning and songs of war, and peace, showcasing the stories behind some of Israel’s most iconic tunes.


Podcasts bring stories to life, exposing us to different narratives and opinions, enriching our knowledge, and providing an opportunity for inquiry.

There are many ways to explore the rich content that Mixtape offers. Each episode can be discussed in one session or broken into several lessons, depending on time and audience. Learners can listen on their own or together, during class. Educators can facilitate discussions on key issues, assign individual exploration or implement  activities.

Included are:

  • Background and Summary Songs
  • Speaker / Personality Description and Bios
  • Themes
  • Discussion Questions
  • Recommended Activities
  • Resources
  • Addendum: Songbook with Hebrew, English, and transliteration

We encourage you to put your own spin on using these materials as a foundational source.


Running time: 44:26

We continue our musical journey through the intricacies of Israeli society. This time we explore a song that, ever since the dramatic events in 1967, has become the soundtrack of the country: “Jerusalem of Gold.”

June 5, 1967, is burned into memory as the start of the Six-Day War. The well known song “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav” (“Jerusalem of Gold”) was composed and performed shortly before the war and became an instant success. It hit a hopeful chord during a period of tension and uncertainty leading up to the war. The song became even more poignant after the Six-Day War with the capture of the Old City. At that point in time, Naomi Shemer added an additional verse to reflect the new reality.

In 1968, Uri Avnery, an up-and-coming left-wing politician, suggested replacing Israel’s national anthem “Hatikvah” with “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav.” A surprising suggestion given the connection between the song and the Six-Day War.

While Avnery’s motion never made it to the Knesset floor, “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav” (“Jerusalem of Gold”) has indeed become an anthem of sorts. It is arguably the most recognizable and beloved Israeli tune, to the point that it is repeatedly voted the most important song in the country’s history.

In this episode, Israel Story host Mishy Harman describes an iconic song that built the musical careers of two modern-day Israeli prophets—one of hope and optimism, the other of gloom and despair. Even today, more than half-a-century after June 1967, Naomi Shemer and Meir Ariel represent two different Israels: Israel as ideal that hopes and yearns, and Israel as real that is tough and pained. Less a statement about who we are, right or left, but rather a statement about who we want to be—pragmatists or dreamers.

Note: Be mindful of your audience, this episode includes several instances of adult language. The episode can be divided into two segments.


Yerushalayim Shel Zahav (Jerusalem of Gold) 

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Yerushalayim Shel Barzel (Jerusalem of Iron) 

Download the Lyrics Sheet