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Red Cross to Accept Magen David

The International Red Cross has agreed to accept Magen David Adom as a member after a long-standing policy of shunting Israel's ambulance and rescue service, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 11/1/2005, 1:08 PM / Last Update: 11/1/2005, 9:46 AM

Shalom met with Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey Monday morning and later said a conference in Geneva would be asked to ratify the admission of Israel's Magen David Adom ("Red Star of David") into the International Red Cross. The new standing will allow Magen David to receive financial assistance from the international organization.

The Red Cross explained its long-standing refusal in that it could not recognize the Star of David, part of Magen David's logo. The international rescue body adopted the red cross, an inversion of Switzerland's flag, as its official symbol in the 19th century at the Geneva Convention. It prohibited using other symbols after its 1929 acceptance of the red crescent used by Arab Red Crescent ambulance services.

Shalom said, "It is necessary to continue to act with determination and not surrender to the extortion of the Arab countries and Palestinian elements that are trying to impose all sorts of demands as a condition for their agreement to the Red Cross move."

Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said, "They [the Swiss] have the ability to bring about changes. That will allow Magen David Adom to finally become a full member of the Red Cross."

Switzerland almost accepted the Magen David as a member in 2000 but surrendered to Arab opposition after the Oslo War broke out.