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Israel – Flag Proposals in "Ha'Degel" 1948

Last modified: 2024-01-13 by martin karner
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Željko Heimer asked about flag designs he saw in Ha'Degel (The Flag), a 1948 Israeli book (in Hebrew) [Nimtza-bi 1948]. The designs were all in blue and white and incorporated the Israel flag in one way or other. I recently located the book at the National Library and found out that these designs are the author's suggestions for a flag for Israel. He explains that since the Zionist Movement as a political movement would still exist, its flag could not become the flag of Israel as a state. In this situation the Zionists in the Diaspora would be using a flag of a foreign nation which would raise the problem of loyalty. So the flag of Hebrew nationalism and Zionism and the flag of the State of Israel should be distinct, but the latter could incorporate the former, as in the designs illustrated.

I do not know what was done with the suggested designs in the book, but I read elsewhere that the Provisional Government had this consideration in mind too and for that reason the Israeli national flag was officially proclaimed only in October while the merchant flag was adopted in May. Eventually the Zionist flag did became the national flag and indeed in some places and times the Zionists had problems.

Nahum Shereshevsky, 8 September 1997

After receiving the book named Ha'Degel from Nahum, there are some remarks about the Israel proposals' images sent by Željko Heimer. Those proposals are from the above mentioned book (written by M. Nimtza-bi in 1948) and are based on his idea that using the Zionist Movement flag (also used as the Jewish nation flag) as the national flag of Isreal could cause troubles to Jews in the diaspora since when they should use the flag as the Jewish nation flag they would be using a foreign country's flag, a thing that might be not be acceptable by local authorities. Therefore, the writer suggested to use the flag as a basis for a new national flag and he brought eight examples.
Dov Gutterman, 20 February 1999

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

In July 1948, Mordechai Nimtza-bi, an expert on heraldry, published a book entitled The Flag, in which he sought to determine the appropriate design for the national flag. Nimtza-bi agreed with Sharett that the Zionist flag should be adopted by the State of Israel but also — that this was not possible. "Even after the establishment of the State, many Jews will continue to live in the Diaspora, and were the Zionist flag to become the state flag, these Jews, who are nationals of their countries of residence, would be flying the flag of a foreign country," he wrote. Nimtza-bi was well versed in the rules of heraldry, especially of the British Empire. The flags of some members of the British Commonwealth incorporated the Union Jack either in the corner, or the center. In his various proposals for the Israeli flag (Figure 8) [image here], Nimtza-bi wished to impart to the State of Israel spiritual authority vis-à-vis the Zionist organizations worldwide, similar to the relationship between Great Britain and the dominions. He created many variations on the Zionist flag. The Provisional Council of State did not accept any of his proposals, nor those submitted by the public at large.

Santiago Dotor, 18 October 2002

Proposal no.1 in Ha'Degel 1948

['Ha-Degel' Proposal no.1 (Israel) 1948] 1:2
image by Željko Heimer

Proposal no.2 in Ha'Degel 1948

['Ha-Degel' Proposal no.2 (Israel) 1948] 1:2
image by Željko Heimer

Proposal no.3 in Ha'Degel 1948

['Ha-Degel' Proposal no.3 (Israel) 1948] 1:2
image by Željko Heimer

Proposal no.4 in Ha'Degel 1948

['Ha-Degel' Proposal no.4 (Israel) 1948] 1:2
image by Željko Heimer

Proposal no.5 in Ha'Degel 1948

['Ha-Degel' Proposal no.5 (Israel) 1948] 1:2
image by Željko Heimer

Proposal no.6 in Ha'Degel 1948

['Ha-Degel' Proposal no.6 (Israel) 1948] 1:2
image by Željko Heimer

Proposal no.7 in Ha'Degel 1948

['Ha-Degel' Proposal no.7 (Israel) 1948] 1:2
image by Željko Heimer

Proposal no.8 in Ha'Degel 1948

['Ha-Degel' Proposal no.8 (Israel) 1948] 1:2
image by Željko Heimer