Israel - national flag
Israel's national flag was officially established by the country's
independence in 1948. The flag is formed on the basis of a flag that was
displayed in 1897 at the first Zionist Congress in Basel. The basis of the
pattern is the Jewish prayer shawl, tallith. In the middle is the belly of
David (the Star of David), an ancient Jewish symbol.
What does the flag of Israel look like? Follow this link, then you will see
the image in PNG format and flag meaning description about this country.
On biblical times, see the article on Israel. About the time before 1948,
see also Palestine (archeology) and Palestine (history).
Palestine belonged to the Ottoman Empire from 1517, but was conquered in 1917
by Great Britain. That same year, the British stated in the Balfour Declaration
that they would work for a Jewish homeland in the area. At the San Remo Peace
Conference in 1920, Palestine became a British Mandate Territory under the
League of Nations; Transjordan was separated in 1922.
AbbreviationFinder: Check three-letter abbreviation for each country in the world,
such as ISR which represents the official name of Israel.
The desire for a Jewish homeland in Palestine had been actualized by the
anti-Semitism and nationalism that prevailed in Europe in the late 1800's. The
Austrian journalist Theodor Herzl, co-organizer of the first Zionist Congress
in Basel in 1897, translated the ideas into practical politics and formulated a
program for its implementation; is Zionism. In the 1880's, Jewish immigration to
Palestine gradually began, but only from approximately 1905, the so-called 2nd aliya,
the move increased. The pioneer generation came predominantly from Eastern
Europe and was inspired by socialist ideas and the Bible, and they had a
decisive influence on the ideological foundations and institutions of the Jewish
state. After Hitler took power in Germany in 1933, immigration increased
steadily, though interrupted by World War II. In 1882 about 24,000 Jews lived in
Palestine and in 1948 approximately 650,000. Jewish immigration and the political
efforts of the national independence movement intensified the antagonism between
the area's Jewish and Arab populations. There were several clashes, and in
1936-39 an Arab uprising was defeated by the British Army. To accommodate Arab
wishes, Britain slowed down Jewish immigration. The White Paper of 1939.
See song and lyrics about Israel
The mass extermination of Jews during World War II (see Holocaust) provided
fertile ground for great sympathy for the Jewish struggle for a homeland. At the
same time, major refugee problems arose as the concentration camps were
emptied. Tired of war, under pressure from the United States and trapped in a
conflict between incompatible Arab and Jewish views, in 1947 the British left it
to the UN to decide on the future of the area. In 1947, the UN proposed dividing
Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish state.
Establishment of the State of Israel (1948-1967)
The State of Israel was proclaimed May 14, 1948 in Tel Aviv by David
Ben-Gurion. The proclamation triggered the 1948-49 War of Independence between
Israel and Transjordan (Jordan), Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. In this war,
Israel conquered an approximately 50% larger area than it had been allocated by the
division plan adopted by the UN General Assembly on 29 November 1947. The rest
of the area, which was planned to be a Palestinian state, was annexed by King
Abdallah ibn Husayn of Transjordan, while Gaza came under Egyptian
control. After the war, Israel and Transjordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria signed
||The State of Israel is established 14/5.
||The War of Independence; Israel is being attacked by troops from
Transjordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. Mass immigration of Jews
from Muslim countries.
||Suez Crisis; Israel is attacking Egypt along with France and
||The Six Day War; Israel conquers the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza
Strip, the West Bank and parts of the Golan Heights.
||The October War (or the Yom Kippur War); Egypt and Syria attack
||The Israeli Labor Party loses the election; Likud comes to
power. Peace talks with Egypt. Anwar al-Sadat visits Israel.
||The Camp David Agreement between Israel and Egypt. Israel is
invading southern Lebanon.
||The Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement is signed.
||Israel invades Lebanon and drives the PLO out of Beirut.
||The Palestinian uprising Intifada in the Occupied Territories. Mass
immigration from former Soviet republics.
||Agreement in principle between Israel and the PLO on Palestinian
||Peace agreement with Jordan.
||Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated.
||Likud returns to government power.
||The 2nd intifada of the Palestinians begins.
||Month-long war against Hezbollah in Lebanon.
The War of Independence created two major refugee problems: approximately 730,000
Arabs fled or were expelled from the areas controlled by the Jews, and a similar
number of Jews living in the Arab countries fled to Israel, often via
Europe. The two populations' sense of being victims of injustice has since
contributed to the irreconcilability that characterizes the national conflict
between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Within five years of the War of
Independence, Israel's Jewish population doubled. Mass immigration changed the
composition of the population and, together with the war, strained Israel's
In October 1951, the Conservative Zionist Party entered into a coalition
government with the Mapai Labor Party. This led to the liberalization of
restrictive economic policies: food rationing was abolished and investment
promotion laws were passed. In 1953, the economy had stabilized, and the
following year a period of growth began, spurred on by an agreement with
West Germany on war damages.
The new state was strongly centralized, and in 1953 the public budget
amounted to approximately 50% of national income with housing and defense as the two
most important items. In 1960, 60% of all employees were employed in the public
sector in one form or another, and 75% of the population was organized
in Histadrut, the cooperating trade unions, which by virtue of its large
industrial sector were also the country's largest employers. The new economic
policy encouraged foreign investment, which supplemented the official US aid of
50 million. dollars annually, sales of government bonds abroad as well as
contributions from foreign Jews. During the same period, the nature of the
agricultural sector changed. Collective drift slipped into the background in
favor of cooperative use, and living standards and thus life expectancy began to
The 1956 Suez Crisis, triggered by Egyptian
President Nasser's nationalization of the Suez Canal in July 1956, resulted in a
failed British-French-Israeli military operation. However, it became a turning
point in the history of Israel; the military alliance with France strengthened
the Israeli defense, foreign aid grew steadily, and a new wave of immigrants
from communist countries, especially Poland and Romania, meant a well-educated
contribution to society.
The immigration of Oriental Jews created social tensions, the existence of
which was not recorded by the decision-makers before the so-called "bread and
work" demonstrations in July 1959 in Haifa. They were to become a warning of
political developments that would bring an end to the political monopoly of the
labor movement in 1977.
Consolidation of the State of Israel (1967-77)
In 1967, 20% of Israel's population lived in housing ready for redevelopment,
and 83% of them were of Oriental descent. During these years, the country became
self-sufficient in food, but the economy was plagued by inflation, rising
unemployment and the balance of payments deficit. The crisis was mainly due to
the costs of the defense as well as the large immigration and investment in
large-scale construction work.
Israel's convincing victory over Egypt, Syria and Jordan in the 1967 Six Day
War meant that the country, having been a besieged state, became the undisputed
military superpower of the Middle East. The Sinai Peninsula, Gaza, the West Bank
and parts of the Golan Heights were occupied, and 1 million. Palestinians in the
occupied territories came under Israeli control.
The Israeli government decided to evacuate all conquered territories minus
Jerusalem towards the conclusion of peace, but an Arab summit on August 29, 1967
in Khartoum (see the Khartoum Agreements) decided in response to the Israeli
government's decision to deny recognition of Israel and peace talks. The Arab no
helped to create popular support behind the Israeli settlement policy that was
introduced in the occupied territories after the Six-Day War. The war
intensified the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 1967, the Israeli parliament
decided to annex the Palestinian part of Jerusalem as well as its hinterland.
The pre-war economic downturn of 1967 was replaced by intense economic
activity, partly triggered by the defense budget, which was adapted to the new
tasks of the military as a result of the new frontiers. The upswing created
growing social inequality and put an end to the egalitarian imprint that had
characterized the country's first years. In the late 1960's, a mix of the Israeli
and Palestinian economies also began. Israeli exports to the Palestinian
territories were larger than exports for example, West Germany and Great
Britain, and 1/4 of the labor force in Israeli industry
and agriculture came from the Palestinian territories.
The Israeli boom created excessive self-confidence and arrogance in assessing
the Arab world's ability to recover from the defeat of the Six Day War. Official
Israel assumed it would take at least ten years, and that was part of the reason
Israel was unprepared when Syria and Egypt attacked the country in October 1973.
||Schneur Zalman Shazar
The shock of the Yom Kippur War (also known as the October War) in 1973
undermined confidence in the Israeli Workers' Party, which had ruled Israel
since its inception. A generational change was attempted, and the new leadership
under Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres won the parliamentary elections in 1973,
but lost in 1977 to the right-wing Likud party. Likud leader Menachem
Begin understood how to mobilize dissatisfaction with the Labor Party and the
growing social frustration of the Oriental population, and his radical rejection
of negotiations with the PLO, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, appealed
to many voters. The Labor Party had become a middle-class party.
In the years after the Six-Day War, the Palestinian political leader, Yassir
Arafat, had consolidated his position in the Palestinian diaspora, and from
1970, after the so-called Black September conflict in Jordan forced the PLO's
leadership out of Jordan, the Palestinian resistance organizations based in
Lebanon a growing role in the Arab-Israeli conflict. After the war in 1973, the
Palestinian guerrilla activities escalated, and eventually 100 nations
recognized the PLO, whose goal was "the creation of a secular, democratic state
throughout Palestine", ie. dissolution of the State of Israel.
From the Camp David Agreement to the Gulf War (1977-91)
In November 1977, Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat flew to Israel to
continue secret talks on a peace deal, and in September 1978, Sadat and Begin
signed the Camp David Accords. It was followed in March 1979 by the signing of
an actual Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement. On the other hand, negotiations
between Israel and Egypt on the future of the conquered Palestinian territories
collapsed, not least as a result of Begin's assertion of the Jewish people's
right to the whole of biblical Palestine and thus also to the occupied
territories. After the election victory in 1977, Begin intensified the
settlement policy, which now acquired an ideological-religious character in
addition to the security policy that had dominated the labor government's
Economically, the post-war situation in 1973 was a strain on the changing
Israeli governments. Soviet arms supplies to Egypt and Syria led to an arms
race, and Israel's defense spending and inflation grew sharply. In the 1981
elections, both the Labor Party and Likud won ground, but Begin formed a
government with the support of the country's small religious parties.
In terms of security policy, there was calm along Israel's borders except in
the north towards the border with Lebanon, where 300,000 Palestinian refugees
lived in miserable conditions, ignored by the Christian part of Lebanon's
population, who feared that the Palestinian refugees would change the balance of
power in Lebanon.
Towards the end of 1974, relations between the Muslim and Christian
populations in Lebanon deteriorated, and the Israeli government sided with the
Christians in the burgeoning Lebanese Civil War. The Christian-Israeli alliance
was strengthened after Begin's election victory in 1977, but at the same time
intensified Palestinian guerrilla activity targeting the cities and villages of
In 1978, Israel invaded southern Lebanon in a futile attempt to defeat the
Palestinian forces, and in 1982, Israeli forces again crossed the border into
Lebanon in order to drive the PLO out of the country. This time the venture
succeeded, and from August Arafat began evacuating his forces to other Arab
However, Lebanon's Christian president, Bashir Gemayel, was killed in a bomb
attack on September 14, 1982, and the next day, Christian militia units entered
two Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, Sabra and Shatila, and carried out a
massacre of Palestinian civilians. The Israeli forces in charge of the area
remained passive, and the revelations of an Israeli Commission of Inquiry forced
Defense Minister Ariel Sharon and three generals to leave their posts.
In July 1983, Israel began to withdraw from Lebanon except for an approximately 15
km deep security zone controlled by Lebanese mercenaries, funded by Israel, and
by Israeli units. The withdrawal was completed in June 1985 and led to an
improvement in the international climate around Israel. In July 1983, Begin
retired and was replaced by Yitzhak Shamir.
The Israeli economy took a dive after the invasion of Lebanon, but the
country was able to meet the demands it faced after concluding association
agreements with the EC in 1975 and 1986 and a free trade agreement with the
United States in 1985. Following the July 1984 elections, a coalition government
with Peres as prime minister. After 25 months, Shamir was to take over the
post. A new economic policy, prompted by Shimon Peres, resulted in in a
drastic fall in inflation. Privatization of the public sector was initiated, and
public funds were channeled over to basic research and technological
development, while Peres reduced investment in Israeli settlements in the
occupied territories. De approximately 500,000 Jews from former Soviet territories who had
emigrated since 1989, many of whom had a high level of education, contributed to
the economic growth of approximately 7% pr. year.
In foreign policy, Pere's rejected negotiations with the PLO and concentrated
on secret negotiations with King Hussein of Jordan over the future of the West
Negotiations between Peres and Hussein were promising, and the draft
agreement enjoyed US support, but in 1986 it was rejected by Peres' successor,
Yitzhak Shamir, and by Arafat. Shamir wanted to secure control of the occupied
territories, and under his rule, Israeli settlement activity accelerated again.
In December 1987, a Palestinian uprising, the so-called Intifada, broke
out in the occupied territories, indirectly leading to the fall of the Israeli
unity government and creating divisions among the people between a peace wing
and a wing demanding stricter measures against the Palestinians. In July 1988,
Hussein announced that Jordan had abandoned any claim to the West Bank and
recognized Arafat as the legitimate spokesman for the Palestinians. In December
1988, Arafat stated that he was ready to recognize Israel's right to exist,
ie. a two-state solution to the conflict. It resulted in the restoration of the
US-Palestinian dialogue, which had been interrupted in 1975 due to Palestinian
The peace process (1991-2000)
In 1991, the Gulf War broke out, which resulted in Israel being hit by
several Iraqi missiles. For the sake of relations with the United States, they
did not retaliate against the Iraqi attacks, and this restraint caused
circles in the Arab world to begin to consider whether the enemy image of
aggressive Israel might be exaggerated. In November 1991, Israeli and Arab
delegations met for a peace conference in Madrid, invited by the United States
and the Soviet Union, and in concession to Shamir, the Palestinian
representatives were camouflaged as members of the Jordanian
delegation. Negotiations were transferred to Washington, but soon stalled.
During the negotiations, it was clear that the Palestinian delegates were
negotiating on behalf of the PLO, and this led to a government crisis in
Israel. Two strongly right-wing smaller parties left Shamir's coalition, after
which he called elections. Rabin was re-appointed leader of the Israeli Labor
Party, and in the 1992 election Likud suffered its biggest defeat since Begin
came to power in 1977. Rabin became prime minister and Perez foreign minister.
Five Arab members of the Knesset secured Rabin's majority, which was a
reminder of the growing importance of the Arab minority in Israeli politics.
Peace talks continued. Rabin's government officially refused to meet the
Palestinian demands for, among other things. a legislative, self-governing
authority in the Occupied Territories. Unofficially, in January 1993, secret
negotiations began in Oslo (the Oslo Accords) between representatives of the PLO
and Israel. In September 1993, Peres and Arafat signed an agreement
in principle on "Palestinian self-government". In May 1994, negotiations on the
first Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and Jericho ended, and in July, Arafat
arrived in Gaza. In October 1994, Israel and Jordan signed a peace agreement in
In March 1995, elections to a Palestinian Legislative Assembly were
held; Arafat was elected chairman of the regime. According to the Oslo Accords
and the Principle Agreement, negotiations on a permanent solution to the
conflict were to end before the end of five years after these elections. At the
same time, Israel increasingly had to leave security and administration to the
Palestinian Authority. Outstanding issues included the final borders between
Israel and the Palestinian Territories, the future of Jerusalem, problems with
the Palestinian refugees from the wars of 1948 and 1967, the future status of
the Palestinian Territories and the future of the approximately 130,000 Israelis who
had settled in the Occupied Palestinian Territories since the Six-Day War,
encouraged by shifting Israeli governments.
The Palestinian-Israeli peace process broke down part of the resistance in
the Arab world against Israel. At the same time, the peace process radicalized
opposition to Israel in extremist circles in the Muslim world and in the
Palestinian people. It also aroused opposition among Jews in Israel.
In November 1995, Rabin was assassinated by a Jewish terrorist who, for
religious reasons, protested against the surrender of biblical land to the
Palestinians. In March 1996, Palestinian suicide bombers from the fundamentalist
movements directed Islamic Jihad and Hamas attacks on civilian targets in
Israel. In May, Lebanese guerrilla units from the Hezbollah movement intensified
attacks on Israeli towns and villages in the border area with Lebanon,
triggering violent Israeli retaliatory attacks against targets in Lebanon. These
events contributed to the Labor Party losing the same year under Shimon
Peres. Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu formed a government on a
national-religious basis, critical of the Treaty of Principles.
During Netanyahu's 1996-99 reign, efforts continued to settle Israelis on
Palestinian land. Among other things, the government decided to build 6,500
homes on Har Homn south of Jerusalem with the intention of blocking connections
between Arab East Jerusalem and Bethlehem. However, in January 1997, under
strong pressure from the United States, Netanyahu signed the Hebron Agreement
with Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat. The agreement evacuated Israeli forces 4/5 of
the city, but retained control of the rest of the terms of
approximately Security of 500 Israeli settlers.
Developments since 2000
Palestinian terrorist attacks contributed to the Likud government not
actively participating in the peace process, and the difficult situation became
no less complex when Netanyahu in May 1999 lost the direct election of the new
Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who subsequently formed a government. He had gone to
the polls on a promise to withdraw Israel from Lebanon, and in May 2000, Israel
renounced its presence in the neighboring country. In July 2000, Bill Clinton
convened the parties for a meeting in Camp David in an attempt to revive the
peace process, but to no avail. Barak then called off elections held in February
2001, in which he lost heavily to Likud, which was now led by Ariel
Sharon. During the election campaign, he had made no secret of that he did not
intend to bow to Arafat and the Palestinian Authority. A visit by Sharon to the
Temple Mount in September 2000 had led to the eruption of a new Intifada (the
al-Aqsa Intifada), which effectively did away with the peace process. New
suicide bombings in 2001 and 2002 led first to a massive Israeli military attack
on the regime in Ramallah, a years-long siege of Arafat and his staff, and in
March-April 2002 to attacks on cities in the West Bank in an attempt to
overthrow the Islamist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad for life. In 2002, the
Israeli government began the construction of a security fence, which was
eventually replaced by a wall to prevent terrorists from entering Israel. The
growing deterioration of relations with the Palestinian Authority was further
complicated politically by a severe economic crisis in Israel, which forced the
government into austerity measures that primarily affected people with the
lowest incomes. In October 2002, the Labor Party withdrew its support for
Sharon's government, and new elections held in January 2003 led to the
establishment of a new Likud government.
Following the US-led invasion of Iraq, the US government, in cooperation with
the UN, Russia and the EU, launched a plan for a final agreement between Israel
and the Palestinian Authority, acceded to by Sharon in May. In June, Sharon met
with new Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and President Bush in Aqaba,
Jordan, in an attempt to promote a diplomatic solution during a period in which
Palestinian President Yassir Arafat was effectively sidelined. The meeting ended
without result, nor did Arafat's death in November 2004 lead to significant
changes in the deadlock.
In the run-up to the 2003 election, the Labor Party had proposed a unilateral
Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Sharon took over the idea and it was
implemented in August-September 2005. Sharon's efforts met strong opposition in
Likud; he left the party and subsequently formed the Kadima party, which was
launched as a center party ahead of the spring 2006 elections. Shortly before
the election, Sharon suffered a violent stroke which ended his political
career. Kadima, now headed by Ehud Olmert, emerged victorious in the April 2006
election and formed a subsequent government with the Labor Party. In relation to
the occupied West Bank, the situation remained frozen. In the elections to the
Palestinian Legislative Assembly in January 2006, Hamas won, and a government
led by the movement was installed, but both the Israeli government and parts of
the international community refused to cooperate with the new government before
Hamas formally recognized Israeli law. to exist. In June 2006, the Israeli army
again moved into parts of Gaza as punishment for firing rockets at targets in
Israel from the Gaza Strip. The following month, Israel launched a major
offensive in Lebanon in response to the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by
Shiite militia Hezbollah. After a good month of fighting,
The war against Hezbollah was generally considered a failure in Israel, and
the government was severely criticized. In addition, there were accusations
against Ehud Olmert about corruption, which in 2008 led him to resign as leader
of Kadima and announce that he would resign as head of government as soon as a
new leader of Kadima was appointed. Kadima's new leader was Tzipi Livni, but
she failed to gather a parliamentary majority for a new government, so elections
had to be called.
During the autumn of 2008, the situation around Gaza escalated
sharply. Militant Palestinians belonging to Hamas fired a large number of
primitive missiles at Israel from Gaza, and on December 27, 2008, heavy Israeli
bombardment of Hamas installations in the Gaza Strip began. A few days later,
Israel invaded and, according to its own statement, destroyed a large part of
Hamas' opportunities for aggression against Israel. However, fighting was fought
in densely populated areas, and Palestinian civilian casualties and the
destruction of Palestinian property were extensive. It is estimated that about
1300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis perished.
In the February 2009 election, Kadima became the largest party, but Likud
under Benjamin Netanyahu still managed to form a coalition government with the
participation of both strongly right-wing and religious parties and the Labor
In May 2010, ships carrying pro-Palestinian activists attempted to break the
blockade of Gaza and seize supplies. Israeli soldiers stormed the ships and nine
Turkish activists were killed. The episode led to a cooling of relations with
Turkey, which had otherwise been one of Israel's allies in the region.
Internally in Israel, rising cost of living led to widespread protests
against the government in the summer and fall of 2011. A government intervention
led to increased competition in food prices.
In the summer of 2014, the abduction and murder of three Jewish teenagers in
the West Bank led to a sharp increase in tensions between Israel and the
Palestinians, not least Hamas, which Israel was accused of being behind. The
tension was unleashed in violent bombings and fierce fighting in Gaza, in which
more than 2,200 were killed, including the vast majority of Palestinians.
Internal disagreement within the government over tax cuts as well as a
controversial addition to the constitution, further establishing Israel's status
as a Jewish state, led Netanyahu in the fall of 2014 to dismiss several members
of the government and call elections to be held in March 2015.