Israel welcomes proposed Red Cross symbol

MDA on Tuesday welcomed the intention of the international Red Cross to introduce a new emblem that will pave the way for Israel's inclusion into the lifesaving organization. Switzerland will host a diplomatic conference in early December to approve the proposed new emblem, to be called the red crystal. The conference is expected to resolve a long-running dispute between Israel and the international Red Cross. Israel has not been permitted to use its symbol on international humanitarian missions, and has been denied full membership in the international Red Cross for 57 years. "I am proud that they recognize the fact that we are a good Red Cross organization and they are stopping the prejudice against us," he said. "It is an important thing for us, to be part of lifesaving organizations that operate in the world." The American Red Cross has also been campaigning for full Israeli membership for years. It has withheld six years' of payment owed to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies - totaling approximately $34 million - since May 2000 to protest the MDA's exclusion. The American Red Cross itself faces the prospect of being excluded for not paying its dues, a gesture not lost on its Israeli colleagues. "We are a small organization, and if they did not help us, we simply would not be part of the Red Cross," Yifrach said. "We are happy to go to sleep at night, knowing that overseas somebody is thinking about us."