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Rishon LeZiyyon Flag (1885) (Israel)

Last modified: 2024-01-20 by martin karner
Keywords: zion | rishon lezion | rishon leziyyon |
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[Zionist Movement (Israel)] image by Željko Heimer

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According to the Encyclopaedia Judaica (published in Jerusalem, 1971), "The Zionist flag in its present form – two blue stripes on white background with a shield of David in the center – was first displayed in Rishon LeZiyyon in 1885". The raising of the flag in Rishon LeZiyyon thus predates Morris Harris' flag by more than a decade. Rishon LeZiyyon was the first Zionist settlement in what is now Israel. It was established in 1882.
The Encyclopaedia Judaica also says that Wolfsohn was unaware of the earlier flags used in Rishon LeZiyyon and (presumably) by the "Love of Zion" groups when proposing a design identical to the flags used by these.
Jan Oskar Engene
, 14 May 1998

[According to] the Jewish Encyclopaedia under the word "Flag" (...) the blue and white colors were quoted first time by the poet L.A. Frankl in his poem Zivei Erez Yehuda; (...) the first Zionist flag, like the current national one, was designed by David Wolfsohn and was first hoisted in Rishon le Zion 1885 .
Jaume Ollé
, 31 May 1998

At, one can find a description of this flag as appeared in a letter sent by its maker (Israel
Belkind) of 21 August 1885.
The background is as follows: By the initiative of Belkind, and with the agreements of Y, Osovitzki, one of Baron Rotshild [patron of the settlment] officials, it was decided to held a celebration for the children of the Heder" [=lit. room – refers to school class for young pupils learning from the Rabbi].
And Belkind wrote: "I and Funny Meirovitz were busy meanwhile in making the flag ... and this was the figure of the flag that we made: white piece of fabric, twin two stripes of azure [Tkhelet] on both sides like in our Talitt and Magen David of azure in the middle. Since the time was short, we couldn't add any words in the center."
This extract suggest that this flag had two stripes on each side.
Dov Gutterman, 14 February 2005

Interesting item is a letter sent by Rishon LeZiyyon's Hebrew Police on 2 May 1920. Note the double-stripes Zionist flag with the word "Zion" inside the MD. This probably follows the design of the 1885 flag.
Dov Gutterman, 5 May 2005

This allegedly first Zionist flags (and as far as I am aware it is the oldest documented use of such or similar flags) was similar to the current Israeli flag, but not quite the same: white rectangular flag with blue stripes along the top and bootom – each composed of two thicker stripes flanked with two thin stripes and in the middle a Magen David composed of a thicker object cotized on the outside and inside with a thin line, containing in the middle the word Zion in Hebrew. The inspitation of the flag from talith – Jewish prayer shawl, is even more evident by the use of the typical pattern of the stripes then in the modern flag.
Željko Heimer, 10 December 2006

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