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Group to Start Drive in Various Countries to Get Red Cross to Recognize Israel’s Magan David Adom

Operation Recognition, a group seeking to get the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to recognize the Magan David Adom, Israel’s equivalent of the Red Cross, will open drives in various countries to gain support for that effort.

Rabbi Rubin Dobin, of Miami Beach, international chairman of Operation Recognition, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that this decision was made after he met here yesterday with Jacques Mureillon, the ICRC’s director of principle and law in Geneva.

Mureillon told Dobin that at the ICRC’s 24th international conference in Manila last November, the delegates voted 50-44 with five abstentions against continuing a working committee that was dealing with the problem of the Red Cross emblem.

The Israeli group has not been admitted to the international group on the grounds that the ICRC recognizes only the Red Cross, and the Red Crescent of the Moslem countries.

NEED FOR ADMITTING ISRAEL

However, Dobin said that at the meeting, Alexandre Hay, president of the ICRC and chairman of the working committee, seemed to indicate in his speech the need for admitting Israel. According to the text of Hay’s speech, made available to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, he said:

“The ICRC and several national societies are concerned about the situation of the Magan David Adom in Israel. This society cannot be recognized by the ICRC and thus become a member of the International Red Cross, since it uses an emblem which is not recognized by the first Geneva Convention of 1949, the red Star of David.”

Hay noted that while some countries do not attach any religious significance to the Red Cross, the use of the Red Cross and Red Crescent “may appear to favor two religious commitments.” He said the ICRC would like to have only one symbol. “While this is not possible in present circumstances, we must realize that it may seem discriminatory to some and contrary to principle that the Magan David Adorn is not recognized,” Hay said.

He observed that Israel is a member of the international community which signed and ratified the 1949 Geneva Convention and “which has not been spared by conflict.” He claimed that Israel is not a member of the ICRC “because at least part of its people feel they cannot identify with the emblem we like to consider and actually call universal.”

Hay declared, “Our movement does not serve the interests of any one state or people but those of suffering human beings. It therefore should be present in all countries and benefit all mankind.”

Dobin said that, in view of the close vote in Manila, he believes there is now a “good chance” of reversing that vote and getting the ICRC to admit the Magan David Adom.

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