Dani Biran is one of the only Israelis who has climbed to the top of the Dome of Rock, one of Jerusalem’s most iconic buildings. In 1967 Biran was 23 years old, a member of Kibbutz Maoz Hayim, and fighting in the paratroops brigade. He was one of the soldiers in the force that entered the Old City.
Even though the Jordanian forces had not yet been cleared, Mota Gur, the brigade’s commander, decided that an Israeli flag must be raised above the most identifiable building on the Temple Mount, the Golden Dome. Two officers were sent to carry out the mission, but the fire power around them kept them from completing it. Then Biran and his friend, Michael Yabelo, were asked to hang the flag. They climbed to the top of the dome, found the flag that was left there from the first attempt, and managed to tie it to the top of the dome. A few hours later Moshe Dayan, Yitzhak Rabin and Uzi Narkis reached the city and commanded that the flag be taken down. Once again, Biran was sent again to climb the Dome. Only a few pictures of the flag flying over the Dome have survived, and in a government discussion a number of days later Menachem Begin expressed concern that these photos could cause damage to Israel’s image in the world.
Biran still holds the memory of that moment, fifty years later. In the last few years he has been researching the history of the Israeli flag, its design and its evolution.