A Russian-born scientist with a medical degree from the University of Berlin which he received during the bitter years when Hitler’s onslaught was mounting against Jews, has taken up the long struggle to have the International Red Cross (IRC) recognize Israel’s Magen David Adom.
Dr. Arieh Harell, now 68 and a professor of endocrinology at Tel Aviv University, is president of Israel’s counterpart of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in other countries. In the United States for a series of seminars and conferences in his medical field, he seeks with indefatigable zeal, as did his predecessors, to win support for Israel’s membership in the international body.
The IRC holds its quadrennial meeting in Manila in November 1981 when Israel’s membership will be proposed. In 1949, when it made its first application, it lost by one vote. At that time, the East European bloc, was split and some members abstained. Every four years since then Israel has unsuccessfully sought membership in the face of opposition from the Arabs and their allies.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Magen David Adom, which was established during the British Mandate in Palestine. Harell noted in an interview here that in the past 50 years Israel’s society has supplied aid to more than 30 countries, including Moslem and African countries which now shun Israel. Ironically, among them is Bangladesh which in mid-August introduced the resolution in the United Nations Security Council aimed at depriving Israel of Jerusalem as its capital.
Last month, Harell said, “Magen David Adom sent 200 pounds of medicines and first aid kits to the Red Cross in Nepal to help earthquake victims five medical teams, helped by the government of Israel and Israel’s television network, went to aid refugees from Cambodia in Thailand. Israel’s television raised 50 million Israeli Pounds for this purpose.”
Harell noted that “most Red Cross societies recognize Israel’s international cooperation. There are strong personal ties between out society and Red Cross societies abroad–the West Europeans, Rumania’s and especially with the American Red Cross.” While in Washington, he was the guest of George Elsey, American Red Cross president:
Harell, who was in Washington with Rabbi Reuben Dabin of Miami Beach, a leader in the American effort in “Operation Recognition” for Magen David Adom, was Israel’s minister to Rumania in 1957-58 and ambassador to the Soviet Union in 1958-62. Born in Kiev, he emigrated to Palestine in 1934, and then entered Berlin University where he received his medical degree in 1937.
While on his current U.S. visit, he is participating in conferences and seminars, including the Gordon Foundation Conference in Meriden, N.H., North Connecticut University, the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, George Washington University in St. Louis, and at Estes Park in Denver. He will return to Israel in October.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.