Israeli President Reuven Rivlin calls for removal of Israeli flag

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[This story is a thought experiment, from an alternative reality]

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin announced today that he was removing the Israeli flag from his presidential residence in Jerusalem as an acknowledgment of the more than 500 children killed by Israel in Gaza a year ago.

“When Palestinians see that flag they see the symbol painted on tanks and fighter planes that caused such incredible suffering to their families and community,” Rivlin said. “On matters of oppression, Israel has had a tough history; we all know that. Many of us have seen it in our lives, in the lives of our parents and grandparents. We don’t need reminders. It is time for the flag to come down and go into a museum.”

The president then went to the flag pole at his residence and lowered the flag.

“For those who wish to respect the flag on private property, no one will stand in your way. But government buildings are different. The events this past year call on us to look at this in a different way,” Rivlin said.

Rivlin added that the decision was a difficult one for him. “I grew up cherishing this flag. It is part of who we are. And many of us love it. But we cannot call ourselves a community so long as it flies over government offices. It is obnoxious to others, a painful reminder to Palestinians that they are second-class citizens and less under the power of the Jewish state.”

The Israeli flag flying over Israeli settlements in the West Bank (Photo: Reuters)
The Israeli flag flying over Israeli settlements in the West Bank (Photo: Reuters)

The Israeli flag bears a Star of David in the center, a symbol that became precious to Jews in the last two centuries. Palestinians say that the flag demonstrates that non-Jewish communities do not count in Israel, and that there is no separation of church and state in Israel, a standard measure of democracy.

Rivlin’s decision was largely symbolic. But he called on other Israeli officials to follow suit and for designers and artists to come up with a more inclusive flag for Israel. He said his own concept was a large blue equal sign between the two blue stripes that are already on the flag. “Equality is a universal value. Everyone recognizes the equal sign everywhere in the world. Such a flag would say that all are equal between the river and the sea.”

The president’s decision was met with derision and anger inside Israel but was hailed by leaders around the world. It took US presidential candidates by surprise though. Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush said it was none of their business what flag Israel flies. The decision was criticized, then cheered, by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.

“We are not going to allow this symbol to divide us along longer,” Rivlin concluded. “The fact that it causes so [much] pain is enough to move it from government grounds. It is, after all, a government that [should] belong to all of us.”

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Andy Borowitz would be proud!

No, Andy Borowitz would decline to write such a piece if he ever had the thought. And the New Yorker would almost certainly decline to print it.

Many many moons ago I spent one night under this mans roof! The year was 1976 and I befriended his daughter who was serving in the same IDF office as I was. I was a ‘lone-soldier’ and it was a lovely gesture to have me spend some time in someones home and enjoy a home prepared meal. I just remember the dad going off to work in the morning! Anyway I think this is a… Read more »

Well done, gentlemen.

Never gonna happen. It’s more like this:

Weeell, it does sorta occur to me, in moments of dyspepsia, that the old Star-of-David may not end up being one of the world’s most beloved symbols. Just one of those wildly pessimistic thoughts I get sometimes.