Naftali Herz Imber

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Naphtali Herz Imber

Naphtali Herz Imber (Hebrew: נפתלי הרץ אימבר, Yiddish: נפתלי הערץ אימבער; December 27, 1856 - October 8, 1909) was an Austrian-Jewish Hebrew poet, most notable for writing a poem on which Hatikvah, the Israeli national anthem, is based.

Imber was born in Złoczów (now Zolochiv, Ukraine), a city in the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, Austrian Empire. He began writing poetry at the age of 10 and several years later received an award from Emperor Franz Joseph for a poem on the centenary of Bukovina's joining to the Austrian Empire. In his youth he travelled in Hungary, Serbia, and Romania.

In 1882 Imber moved to Ottoman Palestine as a secretary of Sir Laurence Oliphant. He lived with Oliphant and his wife Alice in their homes in Haifa and Daliyat al-Karmel.[1]

In 1886, he published his first book of poems, Morning Star (Hebrew: ברקאי, Barkai‎), in Jerusalem. One of the book's poems was Tikvateinu ("Our Hope"); its very first version was written yet in 1877 in Iaşi, Romania. This poem soon became the lyrics of the Zionist anthem and later the Israeli national anthem Hatikvah.

In 1887 he returned to Europe and lived in London; then traveled again, visited India and finally moved to the United States in 1892. Imber made a mockery of the serious and had a sardonic vulgar wit.[2] He also translated the Omar Khayyam into Hebrew. He died in New York City in 1909 from the effects of chronic alcoholism; in 1953, he was re-interred at Har HaMenuchot in Jerusalem.


  1. ^ Streetwise: Rehov Oliphant, Haifa, Jerusalem Post
  2. ^ Louis Lipsky (1927) Thirty Years of American Zionism Published by Ayer Publishing, 1977 ISBN 0-405-10263-1 pp 11-12

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