Hora Madura, the Song
Hora Medura (Hoh-rah meh-doo-RAH) “Hora of the Campfire”, “Campfire Hora” is a song composed in 1934 or 35, when Palestine was a British ‘protectorate’. Most European Jewish settlers were fleeing persecution in Russia, but also Eastern Europe in general, and, increasingly, newly-Nazified Germany. For more on how Palestine became Israel, see https://folkdancefootnotes.org/dance/dance-information/israel-early-israeli-dance/ Originally, the generic Jewish Hora was danced to this song. For more about the Jewish Hora, see: https://folkdancefootnotes.org/dance/a-real-folk-dance-what-is-it/about/hora-jewish-israeli-dance/
Lyrics: Nathan Alterman (1910-1970).
Banu b'li kol vachol We came with nothing
Anu ani'yei etmol We, the poor of yesterday.
Lanu hagoral masar To us, fate gave
Et milyonei hamachar The millions of tomorrow.
Tzei na lama'agal Come out to the circle,
Ten na shir mizmor ladal Let’s have a song for the poor.
Heina ne'esfu lirkod Here have gathered to dance,
Bnei ha'oni vehashot The sons of poverty and the whip.
Hora ali, ali Hora arise, arise!
Esh hadliki beleili Light a fire in my night.
Tehora, rabat ora Pure and full of light,
Hora medura! Campfire hora!
Hora Medura, the Dance
In 1963, famed choreographer Yo’av Ashriel (Erev ba, Eretz Zavat Chalav, Dayagim, Hora Nirkoda, etc) created the choreography most associated with the song. About the dance, Ashriel said he “wanted to use typical Israeli dance steps organized in such a manner so that everyone could join in its simplicity. This is a circle dance joyous and full of enthusiasm.” Source, International Folk Dance at a Glance. Cecile Gilbert, 1969, p.58.