This page is part of © FOTW Flags Of The World website

Zionist Flags and other Proposals (Israel)

Last modified: 2002-11-23 by santiago dotor
Keywords: israel | star: 6 points (blue outlined) | shield of david | magen david | zionism | sun | corn | lion | menorah |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors

[Zionist Movement (Israel)]
by Mark Sensen
First hoisted 1885, adopted 12th November 1948 as the national flag of Israel

See also:

Theodor Herzl 1896

The process of adopting an Israeli national emblem is discussed in detail in Handelman and Shamgar-Handelman 1990 [an article by Don Handelman and Lea Shamgar-Handelman: Shaping Time: The Choice of the National Emblem of Israel, in Emiko Ohnuki-Tierny (ed): Culture Through Time: Anthropological Approaches, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990, pp. 193-226]. The main attention in this article is on the emblem of Israel, but there is some information on the adoption of the flag as well:

In 1896 Theodor Herzl published a book called Der Judenstaat (in English: The Jewish State). He proposed a flag for the state. This was to be seven golden stars on a white field. Handelman and Lea Shamgar-Handelman quoted this explanation from a 1970 edition of Herzl's book (p. 101): "The white field signifies our new, pure life; the stars are the seven golden hours of our working day."

Jan Oskar Engene, 24 June 1996

In the Jewish Encyclopaedia under the word "Flag" is the second design from Herzl for a Jewish flag. The first proposal was white with seven golden sixpointed stars. In the second Herzl proposal the David star is in the center and the stars (golden? blue?) are in the six angles of the star and above is the seventh. The blue and white colors were quoted first time by the poet L.A. Frankl in his poem Zivei Erez Yehuda. According the article the first sionist flag, like the current national one, was designed by David Wolfsohn and was first hoisted in Rishon le Zion 1885 (Mr. Morris Harris created the flag, according Ms. Rebecca Rabinowitz, in 1897). Perhaps the flag of 1885 was with golden star and the one of 1897 was with blue star. Blue and white colors were adopted 1933 in the zionist congress.

Jaume Ollé, 31 May 1998

The seven stars in Herzl's first proposal should be in two rows, 4 and 3. This is the arrangement in two emblems that derives from this flag: Zim Israel Navigation Company and the City of Herzliya. Herzl further suggested to add a lion in the Magen David and this was accepted as the emblem of the Zionist Congress. Ha-Degel (The Flag) book from 1948 mentions that in special occassons, like the sixth and seventh Zionist Congress (the one following Herzl's death) they used a flag with this emblem between blue stripes. There is a photo of such an occassion in the book but there is no information at which congress it was taken.

The 18th Zionist Congress, 1933, resolved that "according to a tradition of many years the azure-white is the flag of the Zionist Federation and the Hebrew People". But except for that, no authorized Zionist insitution resolved the shape of the flag. But the the present form of a Magen David between two stripes became the accepted form and the only one I saw in photographs since the 1930's. This was the flag used by Israeli soldiers in the War of Independence even before the Declaration of Independence on 14 May 1948 and that was the flag present at the Declaration.

Nahum Shereshevsky, 2 June 1998

The first mention of this flag was in Benyamin Ze'ev (aka Theodore) Herzl's private diary on June 14, 1895 when he wrote, "the flag that was raised in my thoughts, maybe a white flag with seven gold stars. And the white field mean our new, pure lives. The stars are the working hours (...)".

Dov Gutterman, 25 February 1999

With all the respect to Herzl (Toša, read Tosha, as he is familiarly called here in Zagreb, among the members of his family that remained here), he had no clue about good "vexillography". But, on the other hand, he could find a precedent, the medieval coat-of-arms of Jerusalem kingdom.

Zeljko Heimer, 27 February 1999

His idea is the base for many proposals that uses the 7 gold stars combination sometimes with the MD. Herzl talked about stripes and stars but didn't give the exact look of the flag so there are many interpretations of his idea. In my humble opinion, Zim's flag is one of the best of them.

Dov Gutterman, 15 February 1999

Second Zionist Congress 1898

[Zionist Flag (2nd Zionist Congress 1898)]

I found a photo taken in the 2nd Zionist Congress (held in Basel in August 1898). The photo show the first Zionist flag which the current Israeli flag is based upon. The stripes are thinner then the current flag and the emblem includes a lion and 7 stars.

Dov Gutterman, 19 June 1999

[Pre-1939 Proposal in Magazine]
by Jaume Ollé

This flag was shown in a magazine.

Jaume Ollé, 11 January 1998

This one looks much more as a talith (talis, the prayer shawl) than the modern flag, but both have the same origin from it.

Zeljko Heimer, 13 January 1998

Jewish Congress 1918

[1918 Proposal]
by Jaume Ollé

Flag offered by the brothers Isaac and Nisen Haisrael to the Jewish congress, 5 December 1918.

Jaume Ollé, 11 January 1998

Quite a complicated flag, maybe good for the Congress, but IMHO unsuitable for the national flag (and it seems that the founders of the State agreed with this too :-) However, I was wandering about the symbolic of it:

  • landscape and rising sun are quite obvious, as well as Magen David;
  • 12 small stars are, presumably for 12 tribes of Israel;
  • corn wreath comes from the first group too, I guess;
  • in the middle of it is the letter "Tzade" for Zion, I guess (as in the 1924 proposal);
  • I have no idea what the letters above should stand for. They are dalet, lamed, yud — DLY.

Zeljko Heimer, 13 January 1998

About the meaning of the letters dalet-lamed-yud on the image of the flag proposed for the 1918 Jewish Congress. I thought almost instantaneously of a yiddish phrase — Dos Land Yisroel, The Land of Israel. Maybe this could be the meaning?

Kris Killer, 21 August 2000

If it was true then it would be Der Lant Yisroel. However, I must say that it cannot be so. One of the main aspects of the Zionism movement was the revival and the common use of the Hebrew language, used for centuries before for praying use only. I cannot see how Yiddish initials could be even remotely considered to appear on a Zionist flag. My guess is that the dalet is the initial of Degel (flag) and the yud naturally for Israel so it could make Degel Le'medinat Israel (flag of the state of Israel) or something like that but that is just a guess.

Dov Gutterman, 22 August 2000

This flag was published in Vexillinfo or Flaggenmitteilung, I believe that originary source is Lucien Philippe. He says, "5 December 1918 Isaac and Nissen Haisrael brothers offered a flag to the Jewish Congress. Other flag was offered by the Italian government in 1924".

Jaume Ollé, 26 August 2000

About the 'DLY' on one of the proposed flags for the State of Israel, it might stand for Degel Lekol Yisrael, 'the flag for all of Israel'.

Nachman Oz, 21 May 2001

Jewish Cultural Congress 1924

[1924 Proposal]
by Jaume Ollé

Flag offered by Italy to the Jewish Cultural Congress on 4 November 1924.

Jaume Ollé, 11 January 1998

Was this in use? Is it used today in Italy? Seven stars are already mentioned here as an element of one proposal for the Israeli flag. The word in the middle is Zion spelled out fully.

Zeljko Heimer, 13 January 1998

A Palestine Jewish Flag 1934

[Palestine Jewish flag]
by Dave Martucci

National Geographic 1917 shows a b/w photo of a "Zionist" waving a flag horizontally divided light over dark (the caption indeed says it is white over blue) with the "Shield of David" in the center, counterchanged (that is, it is dark on the light half of the flag and light on the dark half.)

Nick Artimovich, 1 April 1996

There is a photo in the 1934 National Geographic with the following caption: "The 'Emanuel', flying a Palestine flag, anchors at Southampton, England. This Jewish trading vessel was the first to fly her country's new banner. Palestine, under British mandate, has a badge (see No. 419), but its Jewish population has created this flag of their own - Solomon's seal on a field of blue and white." The flag in the picture appears to be blue over white with a large "Star of David" set near the hoist and counterchanged in colors. In its center appears the letter "H" in an unknown color but obviously not blue or white. The photo is black and white.

Dave Martucci, 3 November 1996

Larousse Dictionary pre-1939

[Proposal in Larousse]
by Jaume Ollé

The flag of the Palestine Jews pre-1939, according to the Larousse Dictionary.

Jaume Ollé, 11 January 1998

Zionist flags on old cards

I recently found here postcards showing items from an exhibition entitled Blue-White in Colours that took place in 1996-1997. I assume that the exhibition was about Zionism reflected in postcards, greeting cards, posters etc. Some of the cards have flags on them:

  • A Zionist Calendar for the Jewish Year 5664, St. Petersburg, 1903. The flag is in b/w so I'm not sure about the colours. It is divided horizontaly, the upper part is probably blue, the lower part white. On the blue half there are 7 stars, in gold/yellow or white. These are Herzl's 7 stars, but here they are 5-pointed instead of the usual magen-david like six-pointed stars. In the centre of the flag there is a large dark magen-david, probably in dark blue.

  • The Ship of Redemption, greeting card for the new year, New York, 1925. There are two flags there, blue over white with a golden magen-david in the centre. Below the magen-david there are inscriptions in gold. On one flag, "...for out of Zion shall go forth the law" (which continues, "and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem", Isaiah 2,3). On the other flag: "The Labour Battalion". This was an organization of pioneers in the 1920's. Its members worked in road construction.

  • The Daughter of Zion, greeting card for the new year, Germany, c. 1910. It shows a woman holding a long continous flag (streamer?). It is white, has two blue stripes like in the Israeli flag, but also two narrower stripes, in a lighter shade of blue, close to the wider ones. Between the inner stripes and in the same shade of blue, there are small magen-davids, running along the flag, with the word "Zion" in hebrew inside them.

Nahum Shereshevsky, 27 August 1998

CHANNELS :: Compare Country infoCountry guide & StudyFlagsMapsSightseeingTravel WarningsHotel Directory DESTINATIONS :: AsiaAfricaCaribbean Middle EastNorth AmericaSouth AmericaCentral AmericaOceania PacificEuropePolar Regions UTILITIES :: WeatherWorld TimeISD CodesTravel Links Link Exchange
DestinationsMonuments WONDERS :: AncientModernNatural | Privacy Policy