Menu JTA Search

Israel Expects the Red Magen David Society Will Be Admitted into the League of Red Cross Societies

Israel is expecting a “positive movement” on its request that the Red Magen David Society in Israel be admitted into the League of Red Cross Societies when the issue comes up next April at the diplomatic conference on Reaffirmation of Humanitarian Law in Geneva.

This optimistic outlook was outlined yesterday by Ambassador Shabtai Rosenne, special advisor to the executive committee of the Red Magen David Society in Israel, who has just completed a three-week visit in the United States as part of the Society’s efforts to obtain admission into the League.

Rosenne, a veteran Israeli diplomat, was assisted here by the newly formed committee, “Operation Recognition,” which is co-chaired by Senators Jacob K. Javits (R. NY) and Abraham Ribicoff (D. Conn.), and Rabbi Rubin R. Dobin of New York.


“I found a great deal of sympathy in Washington’s official circles and among officials of the American Red Cross, on Israel’s request that the Red Magen David emblem be recognized as the distinctive emblem of Israel’s medical services, military and civilian,” Rosenne told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in an interview.

He added: “I also found (in the United States) the willingness to cooperate in the attainment of full recognition of the Magen David emblem in the context of the Geneva Conventions. At the same time, these circles expressed hope that a satisfactory solution can soon be reached on the admission of the Red Magen David Society to the League of Red Cross Societies.” Rosenne was particularly gratified with the results of the discussions he had with the representatives of the American Red Cross.

During his visit to the U.S., Rosenne went to major cities across the country and also met with sores of Jewish leaders to explain the issue and its importance to Israel.


The history of the Red Magen David Society’s efforts to become a League member began in the spring of 1949, at the first diplomatic conference outside of the United Nations at which Israel was represented. The Society sought to have the Red Magen David recognized as a distinctive emblem alongside the Red Cross, the Red Crescent and the Red Lion and Sun, the symbol of Iran.

Israel’s effort was rejected in Geneva that year by a majority of one vote and the Red Magen David was not included in the list of recognized emblems. Nevertheless, later that year, Israel signed the conventions subject to the reservation that it would use the Red Magen David in Israelis its emblem while fully respecting all other emblems, No objection is on record to these reservations.

The Magen David Society is in the unsatisfactory position of not being able to gain admittance into the League of Red Cross Societies because a current condition for admission is that the member of a national society use one of the recognized emblems and titles. The result is a vicious circle of discussions that have gone on for a quarter of a century on inter-governmental and societal levels.

Last year in Geneva, Israel put forward a formal proposal requesting membership at the diplomatic conference on Reaffirmation of Humanitarian Law. The three-year conference will terminate next year.