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Flag Legislation (Israel)

Last modified: 2004-05-15 by santiago dotor
Keywords: israel | law |
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See also:

Other sites:

  • The Flag and The Emblem by Alec Mishory, with broad information on the development of both flag and arms, at the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs website


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
Joseph Sprinzak, 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)

Israel Rokakh
Minister of the Interior

Dov Gutterman, 26 August 2001

Symbols Protection Act 1974

Hok Haganat ha'Smalim 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 ha'Hukim) 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

Ammendment to the Flag and Emblem Law 1986

In 1986 the above Law was ammended 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 Ordenance [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