Music From 75 Years of Independence
Like any good celebration, music is a big part of Yom Ha’aztmaut. There are concerts across the country and Israeli music can be heard at family gatherings, barbecues, and beyond!
Enjoy a taste of 75 years of Israel’s independence with this far from exhaustive playlist mixing new songs and old—everything from the Air Force musical troupe to Jimbo J and Full Trunk, with a bit of Pete Seeger thrown in for good measure. It’s an ideal soundtrack to any 75th celebration!
You can find additional iCenter-curated playlists here.
Haivrit Hachadashah (העברית החדשה) | Hatikvah 6
The 2019 hit song by Hatikvah 6 plays on the words and phrases from English and other languages that have become a common part of spoken Hebrew. They playfully call this mix of languages Haivrit Hachadashah, literally “the new Hebrew language.”
Some are concerned that modern Hebrew will lose its unique elements. The song draws attention to the debate over preserving Hebrew versus embracing its evolution, even with foreign influences.
Ein Li Eretz Acheret (אין לי ארץ אחרת) | Gali Atari
This modern classic is often associated with Yom Hazikaron, but it’s enjoyed a resurgence of late, embraced by people on all sides of the current political controversies engulfing the country. The title says it all: “I Have No Other Country.” With lyrics written by one of Israel’s greatest musical geniuses, the late Ehud Manor, and music composed by Corinne Allal, the song speaks of a deep love of the country despite the fact that it has many faults or shortcomings. First performed by Gali Atari in 1986 (see her subtitled performance in the attached video), it has been remade by countless performers as recently as this year, and has been embraced by demonstrators from all walks of life.
Wikipedia (ויקיפדיה) | Hanan Ben Ari
Released in 2017 by popular artists Hanan Ben-Ari and Keren Peles, “Wikipedia” protests against stereotypes and biases in Israeli society. The lyrics tell of a man who wants to be free of the limits imposed by societal norms and stereotypes. He yearns to be an independent freethinker. The song seems even more relevant today, as many people believe the country is devolving into a nation of competing tribes and opponents. “Wikipedia” makes the case for a society in which everyone recognizes that each individual is a world unto themselves.
Tzena Tzena Tzena (צאנה צאנה צאנה) | Pete Seeger
The music to this classic was composed in 1941 in pre-State Israel by Polish emigre Issachar Miron to the lyrics by Yechiel Chagiz. The song became a hit among the pioneers in British Mandatory Palestine, and it was discovered by the American folk singer Pete Seeger. Inspired by the pioneering spirit of the chalutzim, Seeger and his band, The Weavers, began to sing it with adapted English lyrics and released it on one side of a single record; the other side was Goodnight, Irene. Goodnight, Irene reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 1940, while Tzena Tzena Tzena reached No. 2. Learn more about the remarkable history of this early Israeli folk song, and listen to the original Hebrew version of the song here.
English lyrics, by The Weavers
Hebrewman | Ehud Banai
Have you ever struggled to learn Hebrew? And wondered about the Israeli ulpan approach that calls for teaching ivrit be’ivrit, or Hebrew in Hebrew? Well, this song may just open your eyes. Ehud Banai, a scion of one of Israel’s most famed musical and artistic families, released this ode to Hebrew a decade ago—and it’s all in English! You’ll have no excuse for not following the lyrics and absorbing the message. And it’s a great tune to boot!
Ten Lasim Ta’rosh Al Dyuna (תן לשים ת׳ראש על דיונה) | Hagashash Hachiver
“Let Me Put My Head Down On A Dune,” is the theme song from filmmaker Assi Dayan’s classic 1976 hit movie Giv’at Halfon Eina Ona.
The film is a prime example of the “burekas films” genre, popular in the 1960s–1980s, that featured comedy and high drama in exaggerated extremes. The song is performed by the members of the popular music and comedy trio Hagashash Hahiver (literarily “the pale scout”), who also star in the film, which casts a satiric spotlight on IDF reserve duty in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War.
Burekas films hold a special place in the collective Israeli psyche. People love them for how silly and outrageous they can be, and Giv’at Halfon Eina Ona is one of the most-loved of the genre. Millions of Israelis watch it every year on Yom Ha’atzmaut.
Stalbet Bakibbutz (סתלבט בקיבוץ) | Full Trunk and Jimbo J
Stalbet Bakibbutz, a collaboration between the Full Trunk band and rapper Jimbo J, was selected as 2022 “Song of the Year” by Galgalatz Army Radio and Radio Tel Aviv.
The hit song playfully compares life in the city—with all the drawbacks of a lack of parking, pressure, noise, and the high cost of living—compared to life on a kibbutz, which combines calm and quiet with a lower cost of living (everything is “half the price.”)
The song describes the dilemma faced by many young people thinking about where they’ll choose to live.