Jerusalem of Gold was composed in 1967 by Naomi Shemer for the Israel Song Festival. At the time that the song was written, Jerusalem was divided and Jews were not permitted to enter the Old City. Shemer composed the song to express the desolation of Jerusalem without the Jewish people.

The song was a tremendous success at the Festival. Shortly after the Song Festival, on June 5, 1967, the Six Day War broke out. It was during this war that Israeli soldiers liberated Jerusalem. Upon freeing the Old City, the soldiers began singing Jerusalem of Gold, and when it was reported that the Western Wall had been reached, the song was played on the radio throughout Israel.

Jerusalem of Gold became a national favorite, and Shemer wrote an additional stanza to reflect the new status of the city. At one point, it was even proposed to change the national anthem of Israel from Hatikvah to Jerusalem of Gold.

Yerushalayim Shel Zahav
Avir harim zalul kayayin
Ve-rei'ah oranim
Nissa be-ru'ah ha'arbayim
Im kol pa'amonim

U-ve-tardemat ilan va-even
Shevuyah ba-halomah
Ha-ir asher badad yoshevet
U-ve-libbah homah

(chorus) Yerushalayim shel zahav
Ve-shel nehoshet ve-shel or
Ha-lo le-khol shirayikh
Ani kinnor.

Eikhah yavshu borot ha-mayim
Kikkar ha-shuk reikah
Ve-ein poked et Har ha-Bayit
Ba-ir ha-attikah

U-va-me'arot asher ba-selah
Meyallelot ruhot
Ve-ein yored el Yam ha-Melakh
Be-derekh Yeriho


Akh be-vo'i ha-yom la-shir lakh
Ve-lakh likshor ketarim
Katonti mi-ze'ir bana'ikh
U-me-aharon ha-meshorerim

Ki shemekh zorev et ha-sefatayim
Ke-neshikat saraf
Im eshkakhekh Yerushalayim
Asher kullah zahav


Hazarnu el borot ha-mayim
La-shuk ve-la-kikkar
Shofar kore be-Har ha-Bayit
Ba-ir ha-attikah

U-va-me'arot asher ba-selah
Alfey she-mashot zorchot
Nashuv nered el Yam ha-Melah
Be-derekh Yeriho


Jerusalem of Gold
The mountain air is clear as water.
The scent of pines around
Is carried on the breeze of twilight,
And tinkling bells resound.

The trees and stones there softly slumber,
A dream enfolds them all.
So solitary lies the city,
And at its heart – a wall.

(chorus)Oh, Jerusalem of gold, and of light and of bronze,
I am the lute for all your songs.

The wells ran dry of all their water,
Forlorn the market square,
The Temple Mount dark and deserted,
In the Old City there.

And in the caverns in the mountain,
The winds howl to and fro,
And no-one takes the Dead Sea highway,
That leads through Jericho.


But as I sing to you, my city,
And you with crowns adorn,
I am the least of all your children,
Of all the poets born.

Your name will scorch my lips for ever,
Like a seraph's kiss, I'm told,
If I forget thee, golden city,
Jerusalem of gold.


The wells are filled again with water,
The square with joyous crowd,
On the Temple Mount within the City,
The shofar rings out loud.

Within the caverns in the mountains,
A thousand suns will glow,
We'll take the Dead Sea road together,
That runs through Jericho.


This translation is the most accurate that I could find, but no author for it was listed.

This song was used as the "end title" music for Schindler's List, the Steven Spielberg film. Which is totally inappropriate as it's basically a pop song, released over 20 years after the end of World War 2 and the Holocaust!

For the Israeli release of the film, they changed it to a song called "Eli, Eli" (literally "My G-D, My G-D"), a song of hope written by Hannah Senesh.

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