Guest Post on Flag Raisings (and response)

Reader Yoni Bak wrote in:

“I’m not opposed to the Pride flag,” Pruitt said. “I’m opposed to flags, because I think that’s going to be an opportunity down the road for internal community conflict that we could do without.”

That’s Councilman Henry Pruitt at the council meeting in September 2019 in response to the proposal to fly the Gay Pride Flag on Teaneck Township property. He was, of course, 100% correct. We hoisted the pride flag and later painted a BLM mural on a parking lot and now every group wants not only to have the right to publicize their symbols but to have the Township give it official endorsement.

Now there’s a Star of David flag about to be flown which will surely generate controversy. And there will be endless debates about it. And demands for new flags to be flown. And the council will be spending all its time on matters that are not specifically related to the Town but signal which ideologies get our approval.

Why not allow residents to display their symbols of choice on private properties and properties owned by various institutions (Schools, Houses of Worship, etc) & let the Town focus on actually governing?

Mr. Bak raises the core issue at hand, which is whether or not the Council, as representatives, should fly flags.  Deputy Mayor Pruitt did indeed make the issue explicit and those in attendance, as well as others on the council, felt that flag raisings would be appropriate.

The flags are flown in support of residents, in a clear showing that they should feel accepted and safe from attacks and dangers which they face.
When someone marches with a rainbow flag and is attacked, the reason is clear.  The rainbow flag symbolizes that they are a member of or supportive of the LGBTQ+ community.
In a similar way, when someone marches with an Israeli flag and is attacked, the reason is clear.  The Israeli flag symbolizes that they are a member of or supportive of the Jewish community.
As such, the flag has come to symbolize those under constant and rising attack within our borders.
And raising it becomes symbolic of the same message other groups have received.

WHEREAS, acts of hatred and violence against members of the Jewish community have been on the rise in our area and the Township Council wishes to affirm the inherent right of its Jewish residents to live without fear of attacks and hatred

So starts the resolution passed by the Township Council on April 27th, 2021.  I would encourage anyone with questions or concerns to read it first.

This is not unprecedented

Teaneck and Bergen County have celebrated Israel on many occasions in the past.  The largest celebration, on the 25th Anniversary of the State had dignitaries from the Federal and State attending, as well as the Mayor (Frank Burr) accepting gifts in a municipal ceremony at Town Hall, full parade and regalia to Votee Park and festivities.

At other times, proclamations have been made, including one for the 50th Anniversary by Mayor Paul Ostrow in 1998.

Every year, Bergen County has a flag ceremony where they raise the Israeli flag amidst speeches from dignitaries.
You can watch several below from the last few years alone.

Every one of these flag raisings was done by our elected Freeholders Commissioners, on government property.

Is it different in Teaneck?  Does it create hate?  No.

Just yesterday, the Township saw an event for Eid on the municipal green.  The event was attended by members of the council, and the Crescent Flag is still displayed.  We celebrate our diversity.

The reasons for the Israeli flag-raising are enumerated here in the resolution passed unanimously by your council:

Resolution 104-2021I’d encourage you to read it and see the historical links Teaneck has to the State of Israel

The ceremony can be enjoyable and a time to support neighbors with relatives and friends in harm’s way or it can be a time to used to divide.  But the choice is yours to make.

Hatred is not a flag.  It’s an action taken (or not taken) by people.

Hate has no home here.

Annual Bergen County Flag Raising Ceremonies held in the past several years:

Other Towns across NJ raising the Israeli Flag:


In honor of Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel Independence Day, on April 29, that nation’s flag was raised at town hall in Livingston. Although the Livingston Celebrates Israel festivities were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the flag will remain flying for all to see until Friday, May 1. Shown here, the flag was fully raised and then lowered to half staff in honor of those lost to the virus. Thinking about

Jersey City

The City of Jersey City and the Israeli community will proudly fly the flags of the United States and Israel high above City Hall in recognition of the cherished cultural and ethnic diversity of our community. It is also a reaffirmation of the long friendship built on common values and an abiding love for freedom.


Approximately 100 people attended the Israeli flag raising in Clifton, Sunday, May 7, 2017.
Approximately 100 people attended the Israeli flag raising in Clifton

Resolution of the Teaneck Council:

Resolution 104-2021

One Reply to “Guest Post on Flag Raisings (and response)”

  1. I propose we raise flags for all Asian Countries to make our Asian American community feel safe and feel supported in face of the devastating rise of anti-Asian hate crimes.

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