Well, we all know the blue stripes on the State of Israel flag are intended to symbolize the stripes on a tallit, the traditional Jewish prayer shawl. The portrayal of a Star of David on the flag is a widely acknowledged symbol of the Jewish people and of Judaism.
However. this wasn’t always the case. Theodor Herzl wanted the flag to have more universal symbols: seven golden stars symbolizing the 7-hour working quota of the enlightened state-to-be, which would have advanced socialist legislations.
The idea that blue and white should be the national colors of the Jewish people was voiced early on by Ludwig August von Frankl (1810–94), an Austrian Jewish poet. In his poem, “Judah’s Colours”, he writes:
When sublime feelings his heart fill, he is mantled in the colours of his country. He stands in prayer, wrapped in a sparkling robe of white.
The hems of the white robe are crowned with broad stripes of blue; Like the robe of the High Priest, adorned with bands of blue threads.
These are the colours of the beloved country, blue and white are the colours of Judah; White is the radiance of the priesthood, and blue, the splendors of the firmament.
In 1885, the agricultural village of Rishon LeZion used a blue and white flag designed by Israel Belkind and Fanny Abramovitch in a procession marking its third anniversary. In 1891, Michael Halperin, one of the founders of the agricultural village Nachalat Reuven flew a similar blue and white flag with a blue hexagram and the text “נס ציונה” (Nes Ziona, “a banner for Zion”: a reference to Jeremiah 4:6, later adopted as the modern name of the city).
In 1897, the First Zionist Congress was held in Basel, Switzerland, to consider re-establishing a homeland for Jews in Palestine. Morris Harris, a member of New York Hovevei Zion, used his awning shop to design a suitable banner and decorations for the reception, and his mother Lena Harris sewed the flag. The flag was made with two blue stripes and a large blue Star of David in the center, the colors blue and white chosen from the design of the tallit. The flag was ten feet by six feet—in the same proportions as the flag of the United States—and became known as the Flag of Zion. It was accepted as the official Zionist flag at the Second Zionist Congress held in Switzerland in 1898, and the State of Israel later adopted the design as the official flag, upon declaration of Israel as an independent state in 1948.
The flag of Israel was adopted on October 28, 1948, five months after the establishment of the State of Israel.
Throughout the years different variations of the Israeli flag were commissioned, two of them are still in use today:
IDF Navy uses this variation:
And the IDF Airforce use this one:
The Ink Flag
The Ink Flag was a handmade Israeli flag raised during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War to mark the capture of Eilat.
On March 5, 1949, Israel launched Operation Uvda, the last military maneuver of the war. On March 10, the Israeli Defense Forces reached the shores of the Red Sea at Umm Rashrash, west of Aqaba in the area of biblical Elath, and captured it without a battle. The Negev Brigade and Golani Brigade took part in the operation. A makeshift flag created from a white sheet inscribed with ink was raised by Avraham Adan, company commander of the 8th Battalion of the Negev Brigade.
The improvised flag was made on the order of Negev Brigade commander Nahum Sarig, when it was discovered that the brigade did not have an Israeli flag on hand. The soldiers found a sheet, drew two ink stripes, and sewed on a Star of David torn off a first-aid kit.
In Eilat, a bronze sculpture by Israeli sculptor Bernard Reder commemorates the event. The photo of the raising of the Ink Flag, taken by the soldier Micha Perry, bears resemblance to the Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima.