MembersIsrael’s History as Seen Through Insignia

Five years ago, as he was strolling through the Jaffa flea market, Amir Zohar (43), a PhD in mechanical engineering, spotted a small pin shimmering in a bucket.

By Tsvi Sadan |
Photo: Amir Zohar

So long cast aside, this lapel pin featuring a Star of David with a cross in the middle became the first item in Zohar’s growing collection of Zionist insignia, some of which date back to 1882, the very beginning of the modern Zionist movement.

 

Zohar has since accumulated a sizable collection of small rare items, and is today routinely asked to lecture across Israel regarding the story these pins and other insignia tell. Interestingly enough, the item that started it all, the Star of David and cross lapel pin, remains a mystery. All Zohar could tell me about it was that, based on the shape of the cross, it might’ve belonged to a Jewish soldier of the Weimar Republic.

 

Of the many buttons, pins, badges and ribbons, I was particularly interested in the insignia of the para-military organizations that predated Israel’s independence in 1948. Zohar was more than willing to explain the meaning of the symbols, many of which have by now been...

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