Canadian Jews Stop Donating to MDA Over Yesha Ambulances

Canadian Jews announce they will stop donating to MDA due to the removal of the Jewish star from its ambulances in Judea and Samaria.

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Elad Benari,

Magen David Adom ambulance
Magen David Adom ambulance
Israel news photo: Flash 90

A group of Canadian Jews from Toronto have announced that they will stop donating to the Magen David Adom (MDA) first aid organization.

Their decision stems from the agreement signed by MDA which required it to remove the Jewish star from its ambulances in Judea and Samaria, as a condition to its becoming a member of the International Red Cross. “Magen David” is the Hebrew term for the Star of David.

The agreement was first exposed by Arutz Sheva late last year. Paul Rotenberg, a member of the Canadian group, explained in an interview with Arutz Sheva on Monday about the group’s decision.

“I heard about the agreement that was signed and asked Magen David Adom for clarifications,” he said. “They said the rumors I heard were not true and in fact they did not remove the symbols but when I talked with other people, I found out that they indeed took down the Stars of David from ambulances in Judea and Samaria.”

“The MDA volunteers themselves are doing a good job,” stressed Rothenberg, “but the personnel in the MDA office are involved in politics instead of worrying only about rescue operations.”

He added that there are many people, both in Canada and in the U.S., who do not want to continue to contribute to MDA. “There is a group who wanted to donate an ambulance but for now they have delayed their contribution, because MDA does not want to do its job.”

“Nobody wants to stop contributing to MDA,” stressed Rotenberg, “but the organization is making us do so. People are asking how it can be that they are deciding that if a woman needs to have a baby or is injured in a car accident, they would have to ask permission from the Palestinian Authority to treat her.

“True, there are disagreements within the Jewish people on whether Israel should withdraw from Judea and Samaria, but we know that the only international border of Israel is the Sykes-Picot Line which was determined in 1920 and that this is the only legal border,” he added.

“Right now I'm not contributing to them and I'm waiting to see what happens,” said Rotenberg. “This agreement is unacceptable. I have asked the Foreign Ministry and other people to work to cancel the agreement and I do not understand why this has not been done.”

Contributions to MDA were affected negatively after the agreement was disclosed. A grassroots rebellion saw red Jewish star stickers being pasted on ambulances and volunteers from Judea and Samaria refusing to go to their stations.

National Union Knesset Member Dr. Aryeh Eldad recently called on people to stop donating to MDA and instead donate blood directly to hospital blood banks and channel funds to regional councils that would now have to administer the rescue services in Judea and Samaria.

On Sunday, Jewish Home party chairman Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz was the lone Cabinet minister to support a bill requiring the Star of David on MDA ambulances in Yesha.

Opponents to the bill argued against the claim of discrimination. Officials of the Health, Justice and Foreign ministries expressed their opposition to the proposed law, which they said would damage MDA’s international standing.

Likud Minister Dan Meridor stated that the bill would “create a new problem instead of solving an existing one.”

He charged that requiring the Star of David on ambulances in Judea and Samaria is a back door to annex the area to Israel, which officially has been under military rule since the Six-Day War in 1967. Hershkowitz said, “When ambulances in Judea and Samaria have to take off the Star of David, this is clear discrimination, without any connection the medical services it renders.”

Likud Minister Benny Begin suggested that the proposal be shelved for a month to allow further study concerning any damage that might be incurred to Magen David Adom.