National symbols of Israel
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National flag – flag of Israel
The flag of Israel is the official flag of the State of Israel, which represents the state, its sovereignty, its institutions and its citizens both in Israel and worldwide. This flag has a white background and two horizontal blue stripes, charged with a blue Star of David (Magen David) in the middle.
The flag was conceived during the period of the First Aliyah and was adopted as the flag of the Zionism since the movement's inception in 1897. The flag was officially chosen as the flag of the State of Israel on 28 October 1948, and it was favoured over other flag proposals mainly due to the popularity it gained among the Jewish population in Israel.
The Star of David also represents the Jewish identity of Israel, as well as the culture and history of the Israeli people.
National emblem – emblem of Israel
The emblem was designed by the brothers Gabriel and Maxim Shamir, and was officially chosen on 10 February 1949 from among many other proposals submitted as part of a design competition held in 1948.
National anthem – "Hatikvah"
"Hatikvah" is the national anthem of Israel. The anthem was written in 1878 by Naphtali Herz Imber, a secular Galician Jew from Zolochiv (today in Lviv Oblast), who moved to the Land of Israel in the early 1880s. The poem was subsequently adopted as the anthem of Hovevei Zion and later of the Zionist Movement at the First Zionist Congress in 1897. The text subsequently underwent a number of other changes.
"Hatikvah" is one of only a few national anthems in the world which is in a minor scale, such as "Mila Rodino" (Bulgaria) and "Meniñ Qazaqstanım" (Kazakhstan); the anthems of some other Asian countries are of a different tonality such as Japan and Nepal. Though it sounds mournful, the song is optimistic and uplifting as the title (which means "hope") suggests. The anthem's theme revolves around the nearly 2,000-year-old hope of the Jewish people for freedom and sovereignty in the Land of Israel, a national dream that was later realised with the founding of the modern State of Israel in 1948.
National colors – blue and white
The national colours of Israel are officially blue and white as seen on the flag of Israel. The origin of the combination of these colors is from the Bible, in which they are mentioned in several instances.
Blue and white are also the traditional team colours of the Israel national sporting teams.
National bird – Hoopoe
The hoopoe was chosen as the national bird of the State of Israel in May 2008 in conjunction with the country's 60th anniversary, following a national survey of 155,000 citizens, outpolling the white-spectacled bulbul.
National flower – Cyclamen persicum
In September 2007 the cyclamen (רקפת, more exactly Cyclamen persicum) was elected as the national flower of the State of Israel and as its official representative in the botanical exhibition "We Are One World" held in Beijing. The cyclamen won over by a small margin over the Anemone coronaria (6509 compared with 6053 votes) in a poll conducted among visitors of the popular Israeli website Ynet However, in November 2013 the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (החברה להגנת הטבע) and Ynet arranged a larger poll, in which the Anemone coronaria (כלנית מצויה) was elected as Israel's national flower.
National tree – olive
In September 2007 the olive was elected as the national tree of the State of Israel and as its official representative in the botanical exhibition "We Are One World" held in Beijing. The olive is one of the Seven Species of the Land of Israel described in the Bible.
National dog – Canaan Dog
The Canaan Dog is the national dog breed of Israel. The Canaan Dog is a member of the pariah-type dogs, a sub family of the spitz group of dogs. The Canaan Dog has been very common in the Southern Levant region, from Sinai to Syria.
- "Israel National Symbols: The Israeli Flag". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- Reuters photo credit: Ofir Lotan (May 29, 2008). "Day in pictures". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel
- הכלנית: הזוכה בתחרות "הפרח של ישראל", Ynet, November 25, 2013.
- "In Israel, a battle to save the ancient Canaan dog". The Washington Post. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
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