Israeli folk music originated even before the establishment of the State of Israel. Zionists from Germany and elsewhere in Europe wrote Hebrew words to some of their favorite folk songs. The Second Aliyah, saw an increase in original songs by and Jewish composers began to seek new rhythmic and melodic modes, especially using Middle Eastern sounds, that would distinguish their songs from traditional European music.
The Kibbutz movement also played a part in the formation of Israeli folk music. They held regular public sing-alongs which became a part of the culture. Many musical groups originated in the Kibbutz movement, among them the most popular and famous Israeli Folk group of all times: The Gevatron.
Starting in the 1920s, cafe and cabaret music became popular and helped launch some of Israel's leading singers such as Shoshana Damari and Yaffa Yarkoni as well as composers and lyricists including Nahum Nardi, Moshe Vilensky, Daniel Sambursky and and Natan Alterman.
Another great influence on Israeli folk music has always been the Israeli military. From pre-state times until the present day, many songs deal with war, sacrifice, loss, heroism, and the longing for peace. The Israeli military has also been an active promoter of music, through its Military Ensembles, and its radio station, Galei Tsahal.
The traditional Israeli folk style has continued throughout the years even until today. Singers like Chava Alberstein, Yehoram Gaon and many others continued to write and perform songs in the canonical "Land of Israel" style.