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Israel’s Flag – A Brief History
Whether you have been to Israel before or not, you are sure to be familiar Israel’s flag, a blue Star of David in between two horizontal blue stripes. It has been the country’s flag since October 28, 1948, five months after the establishment of the state but the flag was actually designed for the Zionist movement back in 1891.
The design of the flag is very straightforward. The blue stripes symbolize a tallit (a prayer shawl) while the Star of David has long been used as a symbol of Judaism.
Theodor Herzl proposed a white flag with seven golden stars but the idea failed to gain traction. In 1897 David Wolffsohn (a prominent early Zionist and the second president of the Zionist Organization), who had been invited by Herzl to the Zionist Congress, wrote:
At the behest of our leader Herzl, I came to Basle to make preparations for the Zionist Congress. Among many other problems that occupied me then was one that contained something of the essence of the Jewish problem. What flag would we hang in the Congress Hall? Then an idea struck me. We have a flag—and it is blue and white. The talith (prayer shawl) with which we wrap ourselves when we pray: that is our symbol. Let us take this Talith from its bag and unroll it before the eyes of Israel and the eyes of all nations. So I ordered a blue and white flag with the Shield of David painted upon it. That is how the national flag, that flew over Congress Hall, came into being.
This is a very brief overview of the ideas and symbols behind the Israeli flag. But now, you will have a taste of what we learn together at the Jewish Learning Center.