Moshe Sharett played a key part in the establishment of the Jewish Fighting Brigade of the British Army in the Second World War. He gave what came to be known as "The Flag Speech" before assembled troops of the Brigade in Brisighella, Italy, on 3 April 1945.
Brigadier Benjamin, Officers, N.C.O.s and Men!
This is a great moment in the history of our recruiting movement. It is a great moment in the life of every single one of us - wherein we have attained the privilege of hoisting the flag of the Jewish people, the flag of the Zionist Movement of freedom, in the front line of the battle for the freeing of Europe, in this world war against the oppressor of the Jewish people, against the troubler of the world; in our war for the revival of Israel.
Everyone, in volunteering for the Army, carried in his heart the dream and the longing to see this flag flying over him, accompanying him into battle. Every one of you during the five years of this war saluted morally and spiritually this flag which you visualised fluttering on high. For all of us this flag is stained with the blood of millions of Jews who were led like lambs to the slaughter; it is stained with the blood of the ghetto's fighters who fought the battles of heroism and despair and who, at the last moment of despair, raised this very flag. Everyone sees in this flag the battle-standard against the foe. We all see in it a symbol of the war of our time - the soul of that great undertaking in whose name and for whose sake you in fact went forth to war - the task of renewing and re-establishing Jewish statehood on the soil of our fathers.
In the name of a million Jewish soldiers in all the Allied forces, in the name of tens of thousands of men from our homeland who volunteered for the sanctification of the millions of Jewish massacred and for the honor of our Iand; as a standard for the gathering of our exiles, as a call to them to go up to our land, as a symbol of tidings of freedom and regeneration, as a sign of our vow not to lay down our arms until Israel shall return and redeem his barren, forsaken soil – we are to-day hoisting this flag that has been specially sent by the World Zionist Movement and the Yishuv.
Long live the Standard of Israel's war on the battlefield! Long live the Standard of Israel's war in the undertaking for regeneration and freedom!