Flag of Israel

The flag of Israel was officially adopted on October 28, 1948, five months after Israel became an independent state. The flag consists of a white rectangle with two blue horizontal stripes, one on the top of the flag and one on the bottom, and a blue six-pointed star in the center.

The Israeli flag was designed in 1891 for the Zionist movement, a Jewish political nationalist group that advocates for a self-determined Jewish community and to have an independent and sovereign Jewish nation. The design of the flag is reminiscent of the Jewish tallit, or prayer shawl, which is traditionally white with blue stripes. The six-pointed star, called the Magen David or “Shield of David,” is made up of two equilateral triangles juxtaposed on top of one another. Although it is traditional belief that King David used this six-pointed star during his rule of Israel in Biblical times, the star developed its more modern origins as a Jewish symbol in Prague during medieval times and was the First Zionist Congress’s symbol just before the turn of the twentieth century.

The flag’s blue color is not standardized, but mandated by the Israeli government to be a “dark sky-blue,” and the exact blue hue varies between flags. When the flag was first created, Israelis used tekhelet, a blue dye that was used by members of the upper class, consequentially becoming associated with wealth and royalty. Just as the entire flag is reminiscent of the Jewish prayer shawl, the blue color of the flag also has biblical origins: the Bible commands Israelites to have one of the threads in the tallit be a sky blue so that, upon looking at the shawl, they will think of God in the heavens.

The white and blue colors in the flag are significant in other ways as well. An Australian Jewish poet, Ludwig August Frankl, wrote in a poem, “Judah’s Colors:” “Blue and white are the colors of Judah; white is the radiance of the priesthood, and blue, the splendors of the firmament.” The white is also frequently interpreted to symbolize light, honesty, and peace, and the blue to symbolize trust, loyalty, wisdom, and faith.

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