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Flag Legislation (Israel)

Last modified: 2024-01-06 by martin karner
Keywords: israel | law |
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The main Israeli legislation is divided into:

  • Ordinances, which is legislation dating back to the Mandate era still in force, even if ammended by the Knesset, and also legislation of the Provisional Council of State in 1948, and
  • Acts, which is legislation done by the Knesset.

There are also Ordinances (new version) or (combined version) which are Ordinances that were rephrased, refurbished or re-arranged by the Minister of Justice without changing the essence. Since 1926, Ordinances have the Gregorian calendar year added to their name.

Dov Gutterman
, 26 August 2001

Flag Proclamation 1948

The original proclamation of the flag of Israel is mentioned in the Flag and Emblem Law of 1949 and is the basis to the Israeli flag. It was published in the Official Gazette (Reshumot) no. 32, on 10 Heshvan 5709 (12th November 1948), page 2.
Dov Gutterman
, 23 August 2001

From the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Flag and Emblem webpage:

Provisional State Council
Proclamation of the Flag of the State of Israel

The Provisional Council of State hereby proclaims that the flag of the State of Israel shall be as illustrated and described below:

The flag is 220 cm long and 160 cm wide. The background is white and on it are two stripes of dark sky-blue, 25 cm broad, over the whole length of the flag, at a distance of 15 cm from the top and from the bottom of the flag. In the middle of the white background, between the two blue stripes and at equal distance from each stripe is a Star of David, composed of six sky-blue stripes, 5.5 cm broad, which form two equilateral triangles, the bases of which are parallel to the two horizontal stripes.

25 Tishrei 5709 (28 October 1948)
Provisional Council of State
Yoseph Sprintzak, Speaker

Santiago Dotor, 10 October 2002

Flag and Emblem Law 1949

The official English translation of the Flag and Emblem Law, passed by the Knesset on the 19th Iyar 5709 (18th May 1949), says as follows:

Sec. 1(a) "State flag" means the flag which the Provisional Council of State, on the 25th Tishri 5709 (28th October 1948), proclaimed as the flag of the State of Israel, or a flag, of any size whatsoever, similar in design to the said flag and includes any object bearing the design of the State flag.

Sec 1(b) "State emblem" means the emblem which the Provisional Council of State, on 11th Shevat 5709 (10th February 1949) proclaimed as the emblem of the state of Israel.

Other sections are concerned the use of state flag for purpose of commerce etc. (Sec. 2) or the emblem (Sec. 3) and penalty sections about the insult to the State flag or the State emblem.

In 1986 and 1997 the above Law was ammended.

Dov Gutterman
, 25 February 1999

Use of the State Flag Regulations 1953

Another piece of Israeli flag legislation, translated by me:

The Flag and Emblem (Use of the State Flag) Regulations, 5713-1953.

According to my authority based on sec. 6 of the Flag and Emblem Act 5709-1949, I hereby enact these regulations:

    1. Nobody shall use the state flag in public unless:
      1. The flag is done as described and drawn in the proclamation about the flag of the State of Israel, and in the dimensions specified in it, or in other dimensions but in the same ratio as the flags mentioned in the said proclamation.
      2. The flag is in such a condition which allows a honourable display.
      3. The flag is used in a place, time, circumstances and form which do not imply an abuse of the flag.
    2. A legally-made flag can be used to cover the coffin of a deceased whose funeral is handled by the state or the Israel Defence Forces.
    1. Nobody shall hoist the flag on a pole unless the pole is approximately three times as high as the width of the flag.
    2. Nobody shall hoist the flag other than at the top of the pole, but it is allowed to hoist it half-masted as token of mourning.
    1. Nobody shall hoist the state flag with other flags in the same group unless the following regulations are preserved:
      1. The state flag shall not be hoisted with another flag on the same pole.
      2. The state flag shall be hoisted on the right side, when the face of the waver from the building outwards, or in the middle.
      3. No flag shall be larger in size than the state flag nor hoisted above it.
      4. No other flag pole shall be higher than the state flag pole.
      5. The state flag will be raised first and lowered last.
    2. Nobody shall hoist the state flags with other states or nations flags, unless all flags are equal in size.
  1. Whoever breaches these regulations shall be fined up to 5 Israeli Pounds [i.e. 0.5 Israeli Shekels or 0.0005 Israeli New Shekels – the fine was probably modified later in other general criminal legislation].
  2. These regulations shall be called Regulations of the Flag and Emblem (Use of the State Flag) 5713-1953

24 Nissan 5713 (9 April 1953)

Yisrael Rokakh
Minister of the Interior

Dov Gutterman, 26 August 2001

The daily papers informed us today about the consolidation of new regulations concerning the use of the national flags. Those proposed regulation were handed to the Minister of the Interior, and will take affect after his approval.
The Ministry of the Interior published a statement the the approval will be discussed by the next Minister which will be nominated after the coming elections.
The essence of the proposed regulations are as follows:

– The public use of the national flag is forbidden unless the flag is made according to its definition in the law, is in proper shape for using it in dignity and is hoisted in places that aren't offending of harming the flag dignity. Citizens that will wish to hoist the flag on their cars during the Independence day [common practice in Israel] will have to make sure that the flag is not torn or damaged.
– The national flag will be hoisted in all government offices and in all education institutes.
– On Independence Day, IDF memorial day, holocaust memorial day, Jerusalem liberation day and elections day, the flag will be hoisted in every governmental institute since 07:30 AM until sunset.
– Only in special cases such as ceremonies or important events it will be allowed to hoist the flag after sunset providing that it will be lighted properly.
– Anybody present during hoisting of the national flag must stand still and show respect to the occasion
– The flagpole must be three times longer from the flag itself.
– It is not allowed the hoist the national flag together with another flag on the same pole.
– The national flag must be hoisted to the right of other flags.
– No other flag can be bigger then the national flag.
– The flag could be hoisted on half staff only on IDF memorial day, holocaust memorial day, and following the death of the president, prime minister or speaker of the Knesset from the moment of the death notification until the end of the funeral.
– In the chambers of the president, prime minister speaker of the Knesset and chief-justice of the supreme court there will be a flag in size of 140 cm X 165 cm [which not following the official ratio ... odd] and it will be hoisted on wooden pole in length of 220 cm and diameter of 3 cm in angle of 30 degrees.
– In the president chambers there will be three flags on one stand and in the prime minister and speaker of the Knesset chambers there will be two flags on one stand.
– The national flag won't be used as table cloth or cover for a stand in ceremonies.
– A pole on a wall or terrace must be at angle of 45 degrees. It is allowed to fix the flag vertically on the wall providing that the Magen David is in its center.
– It is not allowed to use the flag to cover a memorial or a statute unless of revealing ceremonies.
– On Independence Day the flagpole will be 2.5–3.6 meters high.
– Flag bearer of the national flag will march in front of or right off other flag bearers. The pole of this beare will be longer the other poles.
– It us forbidden to trash a useless flag and it must be archived in dignity
– Violation of those regulations is punishable up to one year imprisonment.

Since those regulations must be approved by the Minister and published in the official gazette, there will be sometime until those will be affective.
Source: Yedioth Akharonot, 8 March 2006

Dov Gutterman, 8 March 2006

Symbols Protection Act 1974

Hok Haganat HaSmalim 5735-1974

The Local Authorities (Emblems) Act, 5718-1958 (adopted 5 August 1958) was replaced by the Symbols Protection Act of 1974 which had two major elements added. It now applied not only to local authorities but also to the symbols of government and governmental organizations, and it also applied to flags. Guess how many flags were protected by this law since 1974 until nowadays – not even one! From the enactment and until this very day there were 66 proclamations. 62 by municipalities, 3 by the government, 1 by a governmental organization – all of them about emblems, none about flags.
In conclusion, every Israeli flag you may see in Israel besides the national flag, civil ensign and customs flag is unofficial.
Dov Gutterman
, 4 September 2001

The Symbols (or Emblems, same word in Hebrew, Semel pl. Smalim) Protection Act, 5735-1974, published in the Reshumot (official gazette), Laws Book section (Sefer HaHukim) 751, p. 22, 9 December 1974, replaced the previous Local Authorities (Emblems) Act 5718-1958. The difference between the new and old Acts was adding flags as an item that can be protected and adding also governmental organisations and not just local authorities. Here is my translation of some provisions of the Act:

Sec. 1 (a)
The Minister of the Interior is permitted to determine in warrant that a protection shall be given to an emblem or flag of:

  1. An Israeli state body or service.
  2. An Israeli municipality, local council [which includes regional councils] or cities' union.
  3. An international public body.

Sec 1 (c)
The Minister of the Interior shall not issue a warrant to a local authority symbol unless its council has previously approved it as its symbol by a majority vote.

Sec. 12
Such symbol as was determined to a local authority by the Local Authorities (Emblems) Act 5718-1958, is regarded as unappealed symbol protected by a warrant issued according to this Act.

As I already noted, no flag was protected yet by this Act.

Dov Gutterman
, 6 September 2001

Amendment to the Flag and Emblem Law 1986

In 1986 the above Law was amended and according to the new section 2A the State flag shall be flown at these places (no official English translation this time):

  1. main office of Government ministeries, authorities and statutory corporations
  2. on the building where Head of a Local Authority chamber is
  3. on the Administration building of the high education institutes
  4. on other public buildings and buildings of corporations which supply public services, as imposed by the Minister of the Interior in regulations on approval of the Knesset Interior and Environment Committee

Section 2B states, "The State flag shall stand at the chambers of Ministers and Ministerial General Managers, court houses and other officials chambers as imposed by the Minister of Interior on approval of the above Knesset Committee."

In 1997, also the main building of schools were added to the list.

Dov Gutterman
, 25 February 1999

Ports and Airports Flag Regulations

Some ports and airports regulations dealing with flags:

  • Ports Ordinance [new version], 5731-1971

    Sec. 35 (a): The Minister [of Transportation] is allowed to regulate regulations for preventing from hoisting or displaying any flag or symbol on a vessel except its national flag, Israel flag, signal flags or diplomatic or official flags, while the vessel is in an Israeli port or dock.

    Ports Regulations, 5731-1971

    Sec. 36 (a): The Port Manager is allowed to forbid hoisting or presenting of any flag or symbol on the vessel while it is in the port, except its national flag, Israel flag, signal flags or diplomatic or official flags, through a written note which shall be delivered to the captain of the vessel at port.

    Ports Regulations (safety of sailing), 5743-1982

    Sec. 71 (a) (ammended 5792): Nobody shall dive from a vessel and no captain shall allow diving unless a divers' flag, as described and illustrated in app. 13, is hoisted.

    (b) While diving is in progress, nobody shall remove the hoisted divers' flag from floater or vessel, and no captaim shall allow removal of such flag from the vessel.

    (App. 13 describes the Alpha flag) in a size of 37.5 × 30 cm or bigger with the same ratio [4:5].

    Airports regulations (moving in the operational area of Ben-Gurion airport), 5744-1984

    Sec. 15 (a): Any vehicle entering the runway during day time shall carry a chequered yellow-green flag in the size of one square meter.

Dov Gutterman, 23 August 2001

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