A day after Arutz Sheva reported that the Magen David Adom first aid organization is planning to remove its trademark red Star of David symbol from ambulances used in Israeli towns east of the 1949 armistice line, it appears as though a compromise has been reached.
In a telephone conversation on Tuesday evening, Yesha Council Chairman Danny Dayan and Magen David Adom President Professor Yehuda Skornik agreed that the removal of the Red Star of David in Judea and Samaria ambulances will be temporarily stopped.
According to the agreement, the Stars of David will first be taken off ambulances in other parts of the country and only then in Judea and Samaria.
The move to take down the symbols is apparently part of an agreement between Magen David Adom and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which has previously taken exception to use of the Star.
Moves to recognize the armistice line as having special meaning are controversial in Israel. They are often seen as sidingwith the Palestinian Authority, which insists on treating the line — also referred to as the pre-1967 line — as a border even though it has no legal significance.
During his conversation with Prof. Skornik on Tuesday, Dayan expressed his disapproval of the agreement signed with the ICRC, but stressed that he is aware that this was not done during the tenure of the current chairman and chief executive of Magen David Adom.
The move was met with criticism by Judea and Samaria leaders, who made an appeal to MDA which was met with a statement saying, in part, that the move to change the symbols had been made in coordination with the Foreign Ministry – a clear indicator, leaders said, that the move was in fact political.
The new symbol is a red diamond, which now joins the red cross and red crescent as officially recognized emblems. The benefit for Israel is that it has been allowed to place its traditional Shield of David – a six-pointed star – inside the diamond, under certain conditions. Israeli ambulances and vehicles at home may use the diamond/Shield of David design, as well as abroad – if the host country agrees. Israeli rescue services often operate outside Israel in emergency situations.
The International Red Cross refused to allow the Star of David to stand on its own, despite its agreement to allow Moslem countries to use a Red Crescent.
The new decision was a compromise between a long-standing Israeli demand to use its Red Star of David (the literal translation of Magen David Adom), and the objections of the Arab countries.
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