JERUSALEM (Apr. 17)
After decades of delay, a formula may have been found to enable Israel’s national relief agency to be admitted into the International Red Cross.
Representatives from Israel and the American Red Cross recently held talks in Geneva and discussed proposals to incorporate Magen David Adom’s red Star of David into a neutral emblem that could be used in place of the Red Cross or Red Crescent, the international relief agency’s official emblems.
The shape of the new emblem may be a diamond, according to reports, which added that the dimensions of the new shape, as well as the incorporated Star of David, were not finalized.
Magen David Adom officials did not take part in the latest talks. The Israeli relief agency’s president, Dr. Moshe Melloul, said the organization is waiting to receive information about the recent talks in Geneva and that it is open to various options.
“We would like the red Star of David in the same dimensions as the Red Cross and Red Crescent, but we are open to other options, such as a unique, universal sign for the organization,” Melloul told JTA.
But, Melloul added, the agency is not ready to adopt a neutral emblem to replace the Star of David.
Melloul said it is likely that Israeli representatives would return to Geneva for further discussions, or that members of the international committee would come to Israel.
He said he hoped the organization would be accepted as full members of the International Red Cross by December.
“I really hope that we and the international organization” will find “an option that will be accepted by everybody and that everybody will be happy with.”
Melloul noted that although Israel is not a formal member of the International Red Cross, Magen David Adom has good relations with individual societies and already works alongside Red Cross and Red Crescent organizations in delivering humanitarian aid to disaster areas.
The issue of the emblem has blocked Magen David Adom’s admission to the International Red Cross since 1949, when the organization blocked Israel’s inclusion as a Red Cross society.
According to Magen David Adom, it has met all but one of the 10 criteria required to join the International Red Cross — the sole remaining issue being its emblem.