When did shirim Ivri'im become shirim Ivri'im? By which I mean, when did they take on the significant role they eventually acquired? I'm not certain - and anyway, there are a number of roles, and each has its own time-line. Take our shir of the day, Rak BaYisrael (Only in Israel). It was written and recorded in 1968, I think. The lyrics are by Ehud Manor (we'll be hearing quite a bit about him), the melody is by Nurit Hirsh, and the recording is by the Navy Band. Personally, I wouldn't put it particularly high on my list of preferences, though it's definitely cute. It doesn't fit in the coping-with-bereavement strand of shirim: it's a goofy song, nor in the love-of-the-land strand (ditto). I'm posting it because Alex Stein requested it, and there-in lies a tale, I think.
Alex is an Israeli who wrote a blog for a while as he wandered around India. in his late 20's, he's quite a bit younger than I. From his occasional comments on this blog he comes off as considerably to my political left. I haven't read much of his blog, but I expect he's secular, and lives in or around Tel Aviv. (He'll correct me where I'm wrong). And yet, no sooner had I announced this project of posting shirim, but he requested this particular one. It was written long before he was born, it can't much relate to his day-to-day life because it's so hopelessly anachronistic, yet he and I both immediately recognized it and hummed it to ourselves.
So this particular shir is an example of the broader these-are-the-songs-all-Israelis-recognize category. The broad category that goes part of the way to define the cultural baggage that automatically goes into being an Israeli, no matter who they are. (Probably including the Haredi, and likely including even the Arabs).
Words: (follow the link, since they've only put up a picture of the words).