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Central Command (Israel)

Pikud Merkaz

Last modified: 2011-07-08 by andrew weeks
Keywords: central command | pikud merkaz | idf | israel defence forces |
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image by Željko Heimer, 15 August 2008

I was watching some documentary on TV today, when a scene from the early years of Israel was showed, with an unidentified flag. The report was about proclamation on Israeli independence in 1948, and some military parade was shown, where in front of units this flag was carried - very similar to Israeli naval ensign with some device in fly end, much in the way the defacement was made in British tradition. The flag passed away from the screen too fast to recognize the defacement, but I believe it was shaped as a lion in a cricle.
Željko Heimer
, 20 June 1998

I searched in my archives and in a wonderful article from Zvi Ruder in Raven, some similar flags are quoted. The lion appear in many military flags and is named the lion of Megiddo. One of the flags or standards of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is blue-purple with white triangle with the base in the hoist and within a blue Magen David; in the fly a badge (but no the lion; seems a fox [See: Pikud Darom, ed.]). I don't know if that is the lion of Megiddo.
Jaume Ollé
, 2 July 1998

I have a copy of the article that Zvi Ruder sent me recently. The illustration there (Fig. 2) is of a lion on a seal found in Megido. The lion on the badge/flag of Central Command represents the Lion of Judea, as in the City of Jerusalem emblem/flag. The Megido lion is not a symbol, the name refers to the artistic form. It might have been the artistic inspiration for the Central Command lion, which is different from the City of Jerusalem lion (the former is passant, the latter is rampant, as much as we can apply heraldic terms here).
The fox is the emblem of Southern Command, representing Samson's Foxes. (To complete the picture, Northern Command has a deer on its emblem). These three animals can be seen in flags/badges of many army units that are associated with the commands. But all of them are ground forces.
Megido is in the Jezreel Valley, in the north of Israel, and due to its strategic place saw many battles. In 1918 it was the place of a decisive battle between the British and the Ottomans, and General Alenby won the title Lord of Megido. Also, Megido is thought to be Armageddon.
Nahum Shereshevsky
, 3 July 1998

At <>, there is a photo showing three jeeps with the the three regional commands flags of the time with explanation: "An Israeli army military parade around 1949-50, in which the flag of the three main regional commands are visible on each of the three jeeps: Southern Command ('Pikud Darom'; left), Central Command ('Pikud Merkaz'; center) and Northern Command ('Pikud Tzafon'; right).
So, the flag that Željko saw was a early version of the Central Command flag.
Those flags were replaced at unknown date with the current flags which are crimson with the national flag at the canton and the commands emblem on the fly. The flag is fringed in gold.
Dov Gutterman, 14 August 2008

The Central Command (Pakmaz, the usual abbreviation from Pikud Merkaz) flag from ca. 1950 was blue with a white triangle along the hoist containing a blue Magen David and in the bottom fly the embelm of the Command - a black disk containing a Lion of Megido.
Željko Heimer, 15 August 2008

The Emblem

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