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Israel Emblem / Menorah

Israel Emblem / Menorah

The MENORA is the main part of the Israeli STATE EMBLEM.  This emblem is “older” than the Israeli flag and the National Anthem.

 

With the establishment of the State of Israel, in 1948, there was a need for a national symbol, in addition to the flag and the anthem. The Provisional State Council appealed to the residents, asking for suggestions for an official national emblem. Hundreds of proposals were submitted to the committee and after a long process, three proposals were selected. Eventually, in February 1949, the Provisional State Council selected the proposal submitted by the designers, the brothers Gabriel and Maxim Shamir.

The symbol the Shamir brothers offered:
In the center, they placed the MENORA – a seven branches candelabrum decorated with olive branches on either sides. The olive branches meet at the bottom of the MENORA, holding between them the name ISRAEL.

The designers of the Israeli Emblem explained precisely why they chose the seven branches candelabrum:  It represents the glorious past of the Jewish people, and unlike The Star of David – is a unique symbol that is not used by any other state or nation.

The MENORA is actually an ancient Jewish symbol, appearing on mosaic floors of ancient synagogues in Israel and on ancient coins. This icon is based on the golden candelabrum that existed in The Temple.

According to the description in Exodus and the Babylonian Talmud, the MENORA was made entirely of gold, with a central pillar that stood on a three-legged base – like the description of the MENORA on the mosaic floor of the ancient synagogue in Beit Shean. From the central pillar, rose to each side three pillars, each one was decorated at three points by a bud and a flower.

According to the Bible, Book of Kings A, chapter 7, verse 49,  in the Temple of King Solomon (First Temple) there were ten golden candelabrums. In the Second Temple, there was only one golden MENORA.

In the year 70 AD, following the Great Revolt against the Romans, the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem and the Second Temple. Titus, the Roman army commander, took the Seven Branches Golden MENORA and the rest of the temple to Rome, and introduced them to a victory parade through the city. The parade, with captive Jews carrying the MENORA, was caught in relief on the Arch of Titus in Rome. That MENORA on the relief has the seven branches, but its other details are probably not conforming to the original MENORA of the Second Temple.

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