Cover of Davar Leyeladim, 1949
We have a flag that we have borne
Hidden and folded
But we all knew
That the day would come – it would fly high!
We didn’t dare hope that our mouths
Would be the ones to bring the news
But we have merited and have been
A generation who have conquered and liberated
We have an army that we created
Out of nothing, from a dream
But we all knew
It would become great when the day arrived
We discovered that our soldiers,
Were hewn from our generation
Our offspring, our children –
They’re the ones who fought the battle
We have a country, for which we yearned
As we wandered in foreign lands
But we all knew
The day would come – and she would be freed
How we have rejoiced, for we have been blessed
With a lofty and elevated destiny
We are the ones who developed
This country into a nation
This source is the cover of the Davar Leyeladim issue from the first Independence Day of the State of Israel. On the title page there is a picture of the flag and a poem called “Komemiyot!” meaning sovereignty. The poem was written by someone called Yoseph, but there is no information about his identity.
The poem describes how for many years the flag, which the author uses as an analogy for the hidden hopes and dreams of the Jewish people, remained “hidden and folded” out of sight. At the same time, “we all knew that the day would come – it would fly high.” The poet describes how even though his generation had refrained from dreaming of this day when Israel would be theirs again, they had the privilege of seeing the land returned into their hands. Yoseph writes that throughout the wanderings of our people in the diaspora, “we all knew / The day would come – and she would be freed.” The author also mentions how the children of his generation were the soldiers who triumphed. The poem finishes with words of happiness at being blessed to have been those who created the State of Israel. The poet concludes with the idea that the Jewish people were incomplete without their homeland, an important Zionist motif that was very important to the leaders of the newly established State of Israel.
The poem was published on the first Independence Day. Independence Day had been declared a holiday in a law enacted by the Knesset on April 13, 1949. The date set for the holiday is the Hebrew date of the declaration of the state, 5 Iyar 5708 (1948).
Jewish History teachers can use this source as an insight into the early years of the State and the emotions of those who lived in these times.
Jewish Studies teachers can use this poem to discuss the centrality of Israel to the Jewish people.
This poem can be also be used in advanced Hebrew lessons.
What is the design of the front page of the newspaper?
Where did this poem appear?
Who was the author of the letter?
When was the letter written?
In what language was this poem written?
What is the main message of the poem?
Reading Between the Lines
What feelings does the author express in the poem?
Why does the author use the analogy of the flag?
What, in the author’s opinion, is required to create a nation?
In the original Hebrew, this poem is written in rhymes.
Why do you think the author wrote the poem in this way?
Why did the paper put a picture of the Israeli flag in the background?
Imagine that you were living in 1949.
How do you think you would have felt celebrating the one-year-old State of Israel?
How is this similar to the message conveyed in the poem?
Do you think there would have been a difference between the feelings of an Israeli or a Jew from the Diaspora at this time?
How is the War of Independence remembered in Israel today?
How is it remembered in your own community?
Do you join in celebrations for Yom Ha’atzmaut? Why?
Imagine that you had fought in the War of Independence.
Write a letter to your grandchildren explaining why it is so important to remember the sacrifices made by ordinary people.
Write a poem or create a piece of art depicting your feelings about the birth of Israel from the perspective of a child who had lived through the Holocaust and then the War of Independence.
Create an illustration to accompany this poem.