Raising the ‘Ink Flag’
The Fellowship | September 28, 2018
Lived: October 5, 1926 – September 28, 2012
Why you should know him: An Israeli major general who served in the IDF from 1947 until 1973, Adan raised the Ink Flag during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948.
Born in what was then British-mandate Palestine, Avraham Adan joined the Palmach (the precursor to the IDF) at the age of 17. Serving during Israel’s fight for independence, he would become famous the next year for his actions captured in the above photograph. After his brigade Adan commanded captured the Jordanian outpost of Umm Rashrash (which we now know as the Israeli city of Eilat), an Israeli flag was crafted from a bedsheet, some ink, and a star taken from a first-aid kit. Adan then crawled up the pole and raised the flag high.
That same year, Adan joined the IDF’s Armored Corps and founded its first Sherman tank unit. In 1956, he commanded an armored brigade during the Suez War, defeating Egyptian forces in the Sinai. He continued to command the Armored Corps until after the Six-Day War of 1967. He was defending the Suez Canal when the Yom Kippur War broke out in 1973. While stopping Egyptian attacks, his division suffered major losses, but then crossed the canal and surrounded the Egyptian Third Army. After this war, he left the IDF after a lifetime of service, later serving as the Armed Forces Attaché at Israel’s embassy in the U.S. And it was this lifetime of service that can best be summed up by the photo that shows Avraham Adan proudly raising the flag of the nation he fought for for so many years.