A Song about Our Flag and Its Deep Meaning

Back in 2002, the Cambridge-educated Anglo-Israeli singer-songwriter David Ben Reuven decided that the time had come to write a song about the Israeli flag and all that it represented for him and his fellow Israelis. The result of his intensive effort was the moving and inspiring Hebrew song called Hadegel – The Flag. When the song was complete with words and music Ben Reuven felt a bit like Naftali Herz Imber must have felt after writing Hatikva, almost as if he were speaking for an entire Jewish nation. So excited was he at the time by the song’s appeal and potential that he sent a copy to Limor Livnat, the Minister of Education at that time. She very soon replied and to his amazement she echoed his enthusiasm and even suggested that the song should be sung by the pupils in all the schools in Israel.

Here then is the letter which Ben Reuven sent to Limor Livnat.
The Minister of Education
Ms. Limor Livnat,
Ministry of Education
Jerusalem

August 25 2002

Dear Madame Minister,
I am writing to you at the suggestion of friends of mine who were very impressed on hearing me sing my new song about the flag of Israel, Hadegel, which I wrote a few weeks ago and have since recorded as you will hear in the enclosed CD. I believe in all modesty that it is one of the most significant patriotic and Zionistic songs written in recent years.
My friends suggested that I should send you this song after reminding me that in a recent statement of yours you said that every school in Israel should raise the Israeli flag and honor it, and this song will enable the pupils and teachers to do this effectively every day. May I suggest that a copy of the text together with a CD of the song be sent to every school in the country to enhance your new policy in this regard.
For twenty years after immigrating from England to Jerusalem in 1966 I was involved in publishing English teaching newspapers for the Israeli school system and often performed in schools all over the country with a program of English and American folksongs. Today I work as a translator into English from Hebrew, French, Spanish and Ladino and am writing some of Israel’s finest songs.
I shall be happy to hear your reaction to my song and any suggestions you may have as to how it can be best be used for the benefit of the younger generation of pupils and their educators throughout Israel.
Incidentally I was very impressed by your recent speeches in English on Holocaust Remembrance day and other occasions.

With best wishes for a very Happy New Year and New School Year,

David Ben Reuven (Cantab.)

POB 3576 Jerusalem 91035; Tel: 02-6536764, Fax: 02-6513853

הדגל
מילים ולחן: בן ראובן

כחול ולבן
הדגל שלי
שוב מתנוסס
גא וחופשי
הדגל שלי
בעולם היחיד
דגל הלאום
עם מגן של דוד
הדגל….

הדגל שלנו
מוביל את העם
דרך ארוכה לעבר היום
בו יתנוסס
עם שגשוג ושלום
ללא מלחמות
ללא דמעות ושכול
דגל לבן וכחול

דגל תקוה תחיה ושלום
דגל החופש אחדות וחזון
דגל הלאום דגל המדינה
דגל שלי ודגל שלך
הדגל….

הדגל שלי
אומר יהודי
כאן יש מדינה
עם בית חם בשבילך
הדגל שלי
מכריז לעולם
שעם ישראל חי וקיים
הדגל….

דגל תקוה תחיה ושלום…..

כל הזכויות שמורות לבן ראובן ושירי ירושלים אפריל 2002
ת.ד. 3576 ירושלים, טל: 02-6536764, פקס: 02-6513853

HADEGEL ENGLISH TRANSLATION
THE FLAG
Blue and white
My flag
Flying once more
Proud and free
My flag
Unique in the world
The flag of our nation
With the Shield of David
The flag…..

Our flag
Leading the people
Along the way towards the day
When it will fly
With prosperity and peace
Without wars
Without tears and grief
The white and blue flag

Flag of hope, revival and peace
Flag of freedom, unity and vision
Flag of the nation, flag of the state
My flag and yours
The flag…

My flag
Says to the Jew,
“Here there is a state
With a warm home for you!”
My flag
Declares to the world
That the Jewish People is alive and well
The flag….

There is an excellent YouTube video of the song by Elchanan Berkowitz called Hadegel and sung by Ben Reuven.

About the Author
London-born David Herman came on aliyah in 1966 after graduating from Cambridge University. In the 1960s, he founded the Good Times Publishing Company specializing in publishing newspapers in simplified English, French and Arabic for the Israeli school system. David currenty works as a translator, and is also very active in the field of songwriting and performing under the musical name, David Ben Reuven.
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