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What’s the History and Meaning of the Israeli Flag?


Israeli flags were especially prevalent in the Holy Land yesterday for Israel Independence Day. While you’re probably familiar with the Israeli flag, you likely don’t know all the symbolism and history behind this Israeli icon.

Haaretz recently shared this backstory, including how the flag started as a symbol of the Zionist movement.

By the late 19th century, both the Star of David and blue and white had become acknowledged as symbols of Judaism. All that remained was for them to be joined in a flag.

Apparently, the first to do this was Israel Belkind, founder of the Bilu movement. In 1885, he flew a flag with a blue Star of David with the word Zion (in Hebrew) in its center, in Rishon Letzion. Above and below were blue stripes, but unlike the Israeli flag these were pairs of stripes – two on top and two below.

Six years later, in 1891, at the dedication of the Bnei Zion meeting hall in Boston, Massachusetts, a flag with just one stripe on the bottom and one on top was flown. It was identical to what would become the Israeli flag but for the word “Maccabi” in


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