Yehuda Halevi - Two Poems: "My heart is in the East" and "Zion, thou art anxious" (c. 1130)
Zionism and Israel- Documents and Texts

home Zionism on the Web News definitions about issues history documents  links photo gallery contact help Zionism

Resources for Zionism and Israel

Judah Ha-Levi, Yehudah Halevi, (Judah Ha-Levi)   was a Jewish physician, poet and philosopher. He was born in Toledo in Spain, about 1085 and died about 1141. Much of his poetry reflected his love for Israel, and kept alive the love of Zion as a part of Jewish culture, rather than just a ritual to be expressed in prayer. At the end of his life he actually traveled to the Holy Land to settle there and fulfill his dream. However, according to tradition, he was murdered by an Arab as he knelt at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, soon after he arrived.  Ha Levi's  poetry used a relatively simple, direct style that is very close to the modern idiom.

Modern Hebrew poetry and language owe a great debt to him. Two poems in particular became a part of the tradition of Hebrew learning and preserved and enriched Hebrew poetic idiom. "My Heart is in the East" and "Zion, thou art anxious for thy captives" ("Zion Hallo tishali lishlom asirayich"). From the latter poem, we have the modern Hebrew expression "Asir Tsyion" - a prisoner (on account of) Zion, applied to those imprisoned in the USSR for advocating Zionism. From same poem, Naomi Shemer derived a line of her famous song, "Jerusalem of Gold" - " lechol Shirayich Ani Kinor" which in Halevi's poem is "ani kinor leshirayich"


This page may be copied for nonprofit use, provided you credit   Zionism and Israel On the Web. The English translations below are copyright 2005 by Ami Isseroff and Zionism and Israel on the Web.

My heart is in the East

My heart is in the East, and I am at the ends of the West;

How can I taste what I eat and how could it be pleasing to me?

How shall I render my vows and my bonds, while yet

Zion lies beneath the fetter of Edom, and I am in the chains of Arabia?

It would be easy for me to leave all the bounty of Spain --

As it is precious for me to behold the dust of the desolate sanctuary.

In Hebrew. 

לבי במזרח ואנוכי בסוף מערב

Zion - thou  art anxious for news of thy captives 
"Tzion Hallo Tishali leshlom asirayich"

"Zion, thou art doubtless anxious for news of thy captives;
 they ask after thee, they who are the remainder of thy flock

From West and East and North and South, from near and far;
 bring peace from every side.

And peace is the desire of the captive, who giveth his tears
 like the dew on the Hermon and yearns for the day they will fall on thy  hills

I am a mourner who weeps for your poverty and when I dream
of the return I am the accompaniment to thy songs.

In Hebrew 

ציון הלא תשאלי לשלום אסיריך


You are reading this at  Zionism and Israel On the Web

External Zionism Links

This site provides resources about Zionism and Israeli history, including links to source documents. We are not responsible for the information content of these sites. These links are NOT intended to be an exhaustive reference about Zionism, but the list will keep growing...

Please tell us about your favorite links and we will review them for inclusion.

Sister sites Zionism Pages  and Zionism and Israel On the Web

 Thank you.

Wikipedia article about Zionism - A comprehensive article including the history of Zionism  as well as links to specific topics and articles about anti-Zionism.

Zionism - Table of contents at the Jewish Virtual Library

Zionism article at Infoplease

Zionism and the creation of Israel - Definition and Brief History - A balanced article that covers the definitions and history of Zionism and its role in the creation of Israel as well as opposition to Zionism and criticisms by Arabs and Jewish anti-Zionists.

Labor Zionism - Early History and Critique - Contribution of Labor Zionism to the creation of the Jewish state, and problems of Labor Zionism in a changing reality.

The US Library of congress has a comprehensive and balanced set of articles about Zionism:

Zionist Precursors - US Library of Congress

Political Zionism - US Library of Congress

Cultural Zionism - US Library of Congress

Labor Zionism - US Library of Congress

Revisionist Zionism - US Library of Congress


Active Zionism - A Zionist advocacy site with many useful links

Zionism On The Web Directory

Learn more about this site at our main page. Comment and add your thoughts to our forums. See our special section on the British Academic Boycotts of Israel. Learn more at our Zionism Commentary collection. Extend your learning through out collection of links or at our links directory