23 January 2018
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Israel’s flag


Israel’s flag was designed by a Lithuanian Jew.

The flag was initially made for the Zionist movement by David Wolffsohn (1856-1914), a Zionist leader from Lithuania’s Baltic Sea coast. The flag was first flown at the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, in 1897, and became the official Israeli flag when the State of Israel was proclaimed in Tel Aviv on 14 May 14 1948.


David Wolffsohn was born in Darbenai, a village north of Palanga, in 1856 where he received a traditional Jewish education. He moved in 1872 to Memel (Klaipeda) and then again to East Prussia, finally making his home in Cologne in 1888. Here he became a successful businessman.

Wolffsohn had been active in Jewish affairs throughout his travels but it was in Cologne that he first became involved in Zionist activities. In 1893, together with Max Bodenheimer , he established the Cologne Association for the Development of Agriculture in the Land of Israel, which was one of the Hovevei Zion groups of the time. In 1896, immediately after he heard of Herzl's impending publication of Der Judenstaat, Wolffsohn travelled to Vienna, to meet with the future leader of the Zionist movement.

Wolffsohn soon became Herzl's associate and was a member of the Inner Actions Committee until 1904. He went with Herzl on his tour to Constantinople and Eretz¬Israel where they met with Kaiser Wilhelm II. Wolffsohn became one of the central figures in the establishment of the Jewish Colonial Trust and later became its first president. But in this capacity he experienced a number of differences with Herzl who despite his lack of financial experience interfered in the running of the bank.

Despite these difficulties, Wolffsohn remained loyal to Herzl even during the Uganda plan controversy and rather than to oppose the leader of the Zionist Organization, Wolffsohn maintained his silence.

After Herzl's death, Wolffsohn assumed the position of President of the World Zionist Organization continuing the political and diplomatic priorities of his predecessor. The practical Zionists and the Democratic faction opposed his re-election in 1911 although he continued his work with the Jewish Colonial Trust. He died on 15 September 1914, in Hamburg, Germany.


Category : Litvak forum sidebar
  • stuart tower

    Theodor Herzl himself had more than just a hand in designing the Israeli flag in 1895. He actually sketched out a drawing and turned it over to Wolffsohn who used the drawing as a pattern for the first flag which was flown at the first Zionist congress in '97.
    My novel, The Wayfarers (Lighthouse Press, Florida, 2003, 596 pages), has included the above fact . When asked why a flag was even necessary for the formation of a Jewish state, Herzl repled: "I would have to tell you about the flag and at that point you would have waxed sarcastic. A flag? A flag is nothing more than a rag on a stick. No, sir, a flag is more than that. With a flag you can lead people where you want, even into the promised land. They will live and die for a flag. It is, in fact, the only thing for which the masses are prepared to die."

    January 02 2012


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