The Israeli flag was adopted on October 28, 1948 and it is known as Degel Yisra'el (the flag of Israel). It is white with two blue stripes near the top and bottom of the flag with a blue hexagram at the center. However, it was first flown during the First Zionist Congress on August 29, 1897, in a concert hall. Later on, during the 18th Congress of the Zionists, they accepted it as their symbol.
The blue hexagram represents the Star of David which is widely recognized as a symbol of Judaism and it is also known as the Shield of David. The flag is made of two equilateral triangles. Gershom Solem, an Israeli philosopher and historian says that it was so widely accepted solely because of its ability to represent the Jewish people in the same way that the cross symbolizes Christianity. The inspiration for the flag’s design, mainly the blue and white, was borrowed from the Tallit, a prayer shawl, which also has blue stripes. According to the Torah, the blue on the prayer shawl would serve to remind the Israelites of the commandments.
Theodor Herzl, considered the father of the Zionist movement, identified the need for a flag and even designed one although his design did not gain any traction. It was David Wolffsohn, one of the leaders of the movement, who came up with the idea of a blue and white flag with the Star of David on it in 1897, and the first Zionist Congress used the design. Other people, who came up with similar designs involving the blue and white stripes and the Star of David, were Morris Harris, Jacob and Charles Askowith, a father and son, and Israel Belkind.
The Israeli flag has several variants used as either the civil ensign which is navy blue with a Star of David within a white oval near the left side of the flag, a naval ensign which is also navy blue with a white triangle on the left side with the star within it. These two have been in use since 1948. The last one is used by the air force and is mostly light blue with two dark blue and white stripes near the top and bottom borders. At its center is a blue hexagram within a white circle with dark blue edges.
This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018
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