Red Magen David Mounts Effort to Obtain Admission into the League of Red Cross Societies
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Red Magen David Mounts Effort to Obtain Admission into the League of Red Cross Societies

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Ambassador Shabtai Rosenne, the Israeli diplomat who is a special advisor to the executive committee of the Red Magen David Society in Israel, will visit the United States for three weeks next month in connection with the Society’s efforts to obtain in admission into the League of Red Cross Societies.

Rosenne, who has served Israel for 15 years at the United Nations, is due in New York about Nov. 10 and will visit a number of other cities including Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, New Orleans, Miami and Washington, Assisting in the efforts, which have become known as “Operation Recognition,” is Rabbi Rubin R. Dobin of New York.

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 Israel as its emblem while fully respecting all other emblems. No objection is on record to these reservations. In 1950, the Knesset passed the Red Magen David law and incorporated this reservation in Israeli legislation.

The Magen David Society, which is Israel’s national relief organization, 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 results 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.

A sidelight on the situation is that a training pamphlet used by the U.S. Army depicts the Magen David alongside other emblems that American troops are instructed to respect, The American army is the only national military force outside of Israel to designate the Red Magen David in that manner.

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