Star of David gone in new Apple OS, but it’s not alone

The removal of the Israeli flag from the new Mac operating system is part of a wider shift away from flags, a top user notes

Screenshot shows that China's flag, like Israel's, is left out of Yosemite (Screenshot)
Screenshot shows that China's flag, like Israel's, is left out of Yosemite (Screenshot)

Sensitive pro-Israel fans of Apple’s Macintosh computers can relax: A change in icon, from a Jewish star to the letter aleph, in the text input list of the Mac’s new operating system does not appear to be part of an anti-Israel or anti-Jewish campaign by Apple.

Rather, it seems to be part of a campaign against the flags of all countries outside Europe or North America, says an expert.

In recent days, there’s been considerable online buzz surrounding the fact that with the new Yosemite operating system for its Mac computers, Apple has dropped the blue Star of David that appeared when a user was typing in Hebrew. The symbol had appeared on the top right-hand corner of the screen, indicating that the user was in Hebrew mode and that whatever was being typed would be in Hebrew. In Yosemite, the Star of David has been replaced by an aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

The Jewish star has indeed been replaced. But so have the flags of India, China, Ethiopia, Mongolia, Iran – in fact, the flags of nearly every country in Africa and Asia have been dropped. The flags that formerly “flew” on top of the Mac screen in previous incarnations of the OS have been replaced by characters from each language. (Two notable exceptions are Greece, which saw its flag dropped even though it’s European, and Vietnam, whose flag is still included even though it’s in Asia.)

Apple hasn’t explained why it dropped the Jewish star, but it is definitely part of a wider move by the company, according to Mac experts who discussed the dropping of the Greek flag in the Yosemite OS. In a posting on an Apple forum, a Greek flag advocate wrote that “the Greek flag got removed, while the disputed ‘Macedonian’ flag is intact. This is very offensive to Greek OS X users. Please put back the flag, or post a solution to this asap. It will not go unnoticed.”

In response, a top Apple forum expert responded that “Apple seems to have been gradually replacing flags with alphabetic symbols wherever possible. Chinese and Japanese have been this way for quite a long time, and in Yosemite I count 30 keyboards (including Greek), nearly half the total, without the flag. This is harder to do for Macedonian, which is one of many countries using the Cyrillic alphabet.” To restore the Greek (and other) flags, the expert suggests downloading and installing a free utility called Ukelele, a graphical keyboard layout editor.

With that, the expert added, those who feel offended by the removal of the Greek flag, or any other one, should make their feelings known:. “To convey your views to Apple, you need to use”

The company has not issued any official statement on the matter.

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