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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Reflecting on the news

Occasionally, the Israeli government actually gets it right!

As of January 1st, 2006 it will become mandatory for all cars in Israel to have a reflective safety vest on-board and accessible to the driver.

For years now, emergency 'breakdown' kits sold for cars/drivers around the world have contained such helpful items as highway flares and reflective triangular lane markers for when car trouble strikes at night (does it ever strike at any other time?).

However, the issue that has been largely ignored is that while the flares and lane markers tell other drivers the location of a stranded car... they do nothing to protect the driver who may be walking around the car or attempting to make repairs.

Think about it, even if the car battery is dead and the hazard flashers won't work, the car still has dozens of reflective parts to catch the headlights of oncoming traffic.  But the driver, who is stumbling around in the dark trying to fix the flat tire or flag down a ride to the nearest service station, is virtually invisible!

These spiffy yellow vests with their highly reflective white stripes are being sold in almost all gas stations here for 15 - 20 shekels (about $4 or $5), and many companies (including mine) are offering them to their employees for even less.

I've picked one up already, but since my company is practically giving them away I may get a second one... y'know, just in case my wife needs me to get out of the car and hold the flashlight while she changes the flat tire.  :-)

In other vest-related news, after more than a half century of being snubbed by the international umbrella organization, it seems the Israel Magen David Adom (Red Star of David) is finally going to be grudgingly allowed to join, and be recognized by, the International Red Cross. 

One catch though... the emblem on Israeli EMT vests and ambulances will not be the offensive overtly denominational Red Star of David, but rather a new symbol called the 'Red Cyrstal':

[(c) Associated Press]

I'm still scratching my head over why the the Red Star of David has been banned for being a 'denominational symbol' yet the Red Cross and Red Crescent have always been acceptable.  But all's well that ends well, right?

I'm just waiting for the anti-Semites around the world to start circulating the rumor that the 'Red Crystal' is actually a not-so-subtle reference to the money-grubbing Jewish diamond merchants... or perhaps Passover matzoh made with gentile blood.

Update:  Many thanks to the helpful reader who emailed me her suspicion that this (below) is the emblem the world community really wanted Israel's MDA to adopt in place of the Star of David.  Unfortunately it turns out there are too many copyright issues to overcome with a popular chain of stores using the same logo:



Posted by David Bogner on December 8, 2005 | Permalink


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» Crystals are forever? from Soccer Dad
Crossing the Rubicon excerpts some choice words about the craven attempt by the International Committee of the Red Cross to allow the Magen David to be an internationally recognized symbol allowing its wearer to be protected as a non-combatant. Talk... [Read More]

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» Crystals are forever? from Israpundit
Crossing the Rubicon excerpts some choice words about the craven attempt by the International Committee of the Red Cross to allow the Magen David to be an internationally recognized symbol allowing its wearer to be protected as a non-combatant.... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 12, 2005 1:22:19 PM

» Crystals are forever? from Israpundit
Crossing the Rubicon excerpts some choice words about the craven attempt by the International Committee of the Red Cross to allow the Magen David to be an internationally recognized symbol allowing its wearer to be protected as a non-combatant.... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 12, 2005 1:26:36 PM


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The world really has gone mad. And sick. How we can accept the red cross, the red crescent and yet ban the red star of David is truly evil. God will punish us all.

Posted by: scott | Dec 8, 2005 10:58:17 AM

Scott... My guess is that if G-d recused Himself from sitting in judgement of genocide in Europe, Sudan, Cambodia, etc., it seems a bit unlikely that He is going to step in and adjudicate what is essentially a graphic design issue. I'm just saying...

Posted by: David | Dec 8, 2005 11:09:34 AM

Hey I could use one of those vests! Could you send me a pair? David...don't give thos anti-semites any good ideas..ok?

Posted by: Jewish Blogmeister | Dec 8, 2005 11:17:19 AM

Here in the great white north, those vests are on my children every morning when we cart them off to Mishpachton and every afternoon when we pick them up. It is dark until 8:30 and gets dark again about 3, so these are a necessity. Adults, if they are smart, have little round reflectors (usually given out for free with various marketing symbols and logos on them) that are safety-pinned to the outsides of jackets. They are great...a vest can be a bit much, and you just tuck the reflector (like the one on bicycle wheels) in your pocket during the day and take it out at night. Shall I send some your way?

On a side note, I felt like your switch in topics took away from the reflective vest portion, which is almost like a great public service announcement. I feared when I read it that the focus would go from "hey, should I go get myself a vest to put in my car next to the jack and spare tire?" to "Why must the world pick on the Red Star of David?". Both questions are valid and important, but I feared that the public service announcement portion of your post would be drowned out by the responsive anger resulting from the banning of the use of the Star of David on EMT vests. My fear was confirmed when the very first comment I saw to your post was from Scott saying the world has gone mad.

Don't get me wrong, Scott's comment was a valid one, and I personally see no difference in using the Red Crescent or the Red Cross or the Red Star of David. I just thought you took away from the first 3/4 of your post by not choosing to make the last 1/4 it's own post under it's own title.

So, saftey first everyone! Go buy a vest!!

Posted by: nrg | Dec 8, 2005 11:18:59 AM

Jewish Blogmiester... First figure out what you need ("Hey I could use one of those vests! Could you send me a pair?) and then we'll talk. :-)

nrg... I agree that one story probably eclipsed (or at least partially obscured) the impact of the other. But I really hate to post more than once a day (I'm lazy... what can I say), and these were both fairly timely topics. I appreciate the offer of a reflector, but I carry around enough stuff in my pockets and on my belt these days. As nifty as a small reflector might be to have on hand, I'm starting to feel like I'm wearing Batman's utility belt!

Posted by: David | Dec 8, 2005 11:50:49 AM

I would kill for Batman's utility belt. with just what one needs at any time. Like tissues for my son's nose...or new shoe laces when mine break and I'm not at home... or some type of device to stop the bus and pull it back towards me when I'm running to catch it and the driver pulls away. The utility belt would be a great addition to my life!

Posted by: nrg | Dec 8, 2005 11:57:49 AM

"I'm just waiting for the anti-Semites around the world... "

For a start, they will claim that Israel is now putting the "ng" rune on its flags....

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | Dec 8, 2005 12:28:00 PM

I'm sidestepping the issue of the "Red Crystal" right now because I'm *much* too steamed up over it and will probably put my foot in my mouth if I get started...

But, since you mentioned the reflective vests for drivers, if only they'd pass a similar law for BIKERIDERS (not the motorcycle variety), because nearly every single one of those teens who is out late at night riding their bike, not only does not have a bike light or a reflective disc, they're usually dressed completely IN BLACK and are invisible until they swerve out into someone's car headlights.

Guess I'm pretty steamed up over this issue as well... Oh well, maybe I should go have another cup of coffee to steady my nerves...

Posted by: jennifer | Dec 8, 2005 1:08:24 PM

nrg... I always thought 'supermoms' kept an endless supply of tissues up their sleeves. :-)

mademoiselle a. ... It would mainly be the people of Scandinavian/Nordic descent who would have cause to cry foul over the swiping one of their runes. But if they didn't say a word about Wagner co-opting a good portion of their mythology I can't see that one little symbol being adopted by Israel would get anyone's panties in a bunch. :-)

Jennifer... Try the decaf! :-) I happen to agree with you about bicyclists. Some municipalities have helmet laws on the books, but even those are never enforced. Reflectors just make sense.

Posted by: David | Dec 8, 2005 1:44:31 PM

I'm baffled by the diamond design, but totally pleased that MDA is finally being acknowledged by the red cross. This is a huge thing, in itself. You can't expect them to just go leaping out of anti-semitism this old and ingrained. Baby steps.

But I did have to note that the "red cross" is also actually a "red plus sign" not a cross.

Posted by: Tanya | Dec 8, 2005 2:28:33 PM

Tanya... "the "red cross" is also actually a "red plus sign" not a cross." Um, actually it really is a cross. The Red Cross emblem is simply an inversion of the Swiss flag, but all those other countries with either symetrical or nordic crosses on their flags didn't chose the symbol because of a shared interest in lower math... they did so because of a desire to create a national link with Christianity. In the case of the Swiss flag, "in 1289 the Schwyz region in central Switzerland (whose flag was a simple red banner) supported King Rudolf of Habsburg in a war against Burgundy and received as a recognition the right to represent the crucifixion of Christ and the tools used to torture him in the upper right field on their flag. Originally they painted this symbol on parchment and fastened it on the banner. Only later the [white] cross symbol was painted directly on the [red] banner". source

Posted by: David | Dec 8, 2005 2:51:01 PM

Right, I'll be giving up joking for new years. Maybe I can get a job with the TSA.

Posted by: Tanya | Dec 8, 2005 3:25:53 PM

"but all those other countries with either symetrical or nordic crosses on their flags didn't chose the symbol because of a shared interest in lower math..."

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha.

Posted by: Lisoosh | Dec 8, 2005 3:38:38 PM

The Diamond design is totally not fitting... its like what I just felt when I clicked on the advert alongside - Astronomy DVD Rental - Free Trial, this is what I got;

We're Sorry...
The advertiser you clicked on has requested not to receive any visits from users outside of their market area.

How can I rent DVD’s all the way across the globe? You should have all said;

We’re Sorry…
The design you all chose is not befitting, we choose to identify our actions by our beliefs!

Posted by: kakarizz | Dec 8, 2005 3:43:42 PM

Lisoosh... What, so I amuuuse you? I'm funny... like a clown?! :-)

Kakarizz... There is a rumor flying around that perhaps we will be allowed to put the star of david inside the crystal. What asshats!

Tanya... Throw me a bone here... an emoticon of some sort might have nudged me in the right direction! I've elevated not picking up on jokes and sarcasm to an artform. :-)

Posted by: David | Dec 8, 2005 3:44:18 PM

Red crystal??? Red crystal?

Where did they come up with that? I mean OBVIOUSLY they couldn't use the red magen david [star of david] since that's well... so Jewish, but still how do you get from that to a red crystal?

They might as well have picked Red Buttons or Billy Crystal as a symbol, though most people know they're Jewish too.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Dec 8, 2005 4:21:15 PM

Also upset about the lack of the red Magen David and substitution on the red crystal, but at least Magen David Adom is finally recognized and included. And ditto to what nrg said about the radically different topics in 1 post. Love the reflective vest requirement!

Posted by: Essie | Dec 8, 2005 4:26:35 PM

Two things Dave.

1. I was also thinking about the whole "diamond merchant" angle, and was about to post it but decided to visit Trepp first.

2. The reader who sent u the target symbol doesn't happen to read my blog, do they? This is a post of mine from over a month ago.

A few days ago you posted a great Separated at Birth too.

Why do I get the feeling you are making my blog obsolete?! :)

Posted by: Aussie Dave | Dec 8, 2005 4:32:35 PM

Doctor Bean... Very creative, I like that! But seriously, the more I think about it the more I'm starting to feel like it's not worth wrangling an invitation to some parties if the host really doesn't want you there.

Essie... But what do we gain by it? This is something that nobody has been able to quantify for me. Is it funding, training, equipment. There is something called 'the point of diminishing returns', and I think we passed that point a few decades ago. Now that we have a fully functioning MDA, what the hell do we really need the International organization for?

Aussie Dave... I'm so sorry, I really didn't see the target reference on your blog! The woman who emailed me the idea lives in New York... is that the source of your entry as well? As to the photos of Tzipi and Donald, I promise to leave that stuff to you in the future. :-)

t... I'm thinking that if hippies had money for the meter they would have spent it on weed or food! :-)

Posted by: David | Dec 8, 2005 4:53:46 PM


The source for my target reference was..me.

No, don't stop now! If u have a great separated at birth, you must post it. Especially if it is as hilarious as the Donald Trump/Livni one.

Posted by: Aussie Dave | Dec 8, 2005 6:10:13 PM

I'm a little confused here about this Red Crystal thing. What purpose is it supposed to serve? My understanding is that it will be considered an equivalent symbol to the Red Cross or Red Crescent Symbol. This is complete idiocy. So the only time it will be used is when Magen David Adom is involved in an international relief effort? Hmmm... and the idea is that no one will therefore know that these are Jews helping them? And its only the Jews who use the Red Diamond and no one else. Makes alot of sense?!?!?! Could someone explain the logic please? Really!

Posted by: wanderer | Dec 8, 2005 6:13:09 PM

"It would mainly be the people of Scandinavian/Nordic descent who would have cause to cry foul over the swiping one of their runes"

You never know. Or some anti semite cranks who still believe there is something like Arian supremacy (which in this case, they could cry, is being provoked by Jews putting Arian runes on their flags).

They should have thought for something else...like everyone switching their uniforms when co-operating in int'l relief effort - the Muslims get the Magen David, the Christians the Crescent and the Jews .... no, bad idea. Bad idea. Forget it.

So it looks that after colours, the world is facing an interesting quarrel over shapes now?

Posted by: mlle a. | Dec 8, 2005 6:33:55 PM

David: There's one other issue that MDA is trying to keep quiet. They obviously don't have a problem with now being called "Red Crystal of Israel", but there's another point which is lost in the details.

One of the new clauses that MDA has to adopt, is the explicit ban of all weapons/firearms that are carried by MDA emergency staff while riding ambulances. As an MDA volunteer EMT/ambulance driver, we carry pistols routinely. The last thing you want is to have your ambulance stoned, shot at, or blocked by burning tires, and having no way to defend yourself if you have to stop.

These incidents are not fiction, but have happened in the past. Ambulances are stoned at in Eastern Jerusalem all the time by Palestinians, even though the patients being treated are Palestinians!

MDA is sacrificing its volunteers and empolyees of the number one rule of emergency medicine, "Saftey", for international recognition.

Thanks guys. I'm probably going to switch to Hatzala. At least there I can defend myself. And have a Jewish star on my back.

Crystals sound way too homopathic anyway, and I didn't know they were part of the EMT protocol.

Posted by: Jameel Rashid | Dec 8, 2005 6:48:50 PM

"Crystals sound way too homopathic anyway"

What's wrong with taking care of gays and lesbians? ;-)

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Dec 8, 2005 7:15:45 PM

Hope this isn't too off-topic but David, you got a nice plug in the current issue of Jewsweek. The "cover" article is about the Jewish Blogosphere and you're mentioned! Yasher Koach!


Posted by: Helene | Dec 8, 2005 7:19:41 PM

Hope this isn't too off-topic but David, you got a nice plug in the current issue of Jewsweek. The "cover" article is about the Jewish Blogosphere and you're mentioned! Yasher Koach!


Posted by: Helene | Dec 8, 2005 7:20:24 PM

Ahem..and who plugged David?!?!


Posted by: Aussie Dave | Dec 8, 2005 9:01:02 PM

The Jewsweek article is here by the way.

Posted by: Aussie Dave | Dec 8, 2005 9:03:49 PM

Aussie Dave... OK, just so you don't go lumping me in with Ynet on your list of plagiarists. :-)

Wanderer... I'm still a bit unclear on those details as well, but it appears that it is theoretically a symbol that anyone can use... but why would they?

mlle a. ... Personally I think the MDA has made a deal with the devil no matter what the color or symbol.

Jameel Rashid... I have had a post in the works for several months about the fact that IDF medics are among the few combat medics in the world that carry arms and are considered combatants. I haven't gotten confirmation on this, but several 'chovshim' have told me that IDF medics and ambulance personnel gave up any attempt at being non-combatants because they were never granted the quarter by the enemy that medical personnel are entitled to under international conventions. I'm sure that MDA is no different in this respect and it seems foolhardy to risk people's lives by disarming them.

Doctor Bean... You know what he meant! (not that there's anything wrong with that!) :-)

Helene... Thanks, I noticed the traffic coming from there. My friend Dave over at Israellycool was nice enough to mention me in his interview.

Aussie Dave... Yes, thank you. Now if only I could get an occasional mention in Havel Haveilim! :-)

Posted by: David | Dec 8, 2005 10:40:45 PM


Oh yee of little faith. The red box thing is merely indicative of world wide antisemitism. It will be for this hatred that God will indeed punish mankind. Severely. 50 million died in WWII and that number could have probably been nearly zip if the West had done the right thing and proactively excised Hitler from the land of the living as they should have done. But they all sat on their collective padded chairs ... and paid a huge price for their sin. God is not mocked and all those stories in that proscribed book I'm not supposed to mention around here actually happened and will repeat.

Posted by: scott | Dec 9, 2005 2:20:12 AM

At the UN, where I spy... er.. I mean intern, we recently discussed this situation. Someone suggested substituting all four (!) present symbols with a single neutral symbol. I suggested a heart, but on second thought perhaps a red skulls and crossbones would do.

Posted by: Irina | Dec 9, 2005 7:11:14 AM

David; Too late...the MDA has (now RCI) already adopted this pathetic rule.

I'm really upset about it, and hope that at least in YESHA it won't apply. We do get shot at...

Posted by: Jameel Rashid | Dec 9, 2005 7:14:15 AM

all those stories in that proscribed book I'm not supposed to mention around here actually happened and will repeat.

Don't tell anyone but Paul really is dead.

Posted by: Jack | Dec 9, 2005 7:40:41 AM

Scott... Um, OK.

Irina... I'm surprised your UN buddies didn't suggest a big red star with a red line through it as a 'neutral' symbol.

Jameel... My hope would be that the IRC would try to force the Palestinians to not target ambulances, but that might be a bit too much. Baby steps.

Jack... Now now Jack... he may be, um, eccentric, but he's our eccentric. Play nice. :-)

Posted by: David | Dec 9, 2005 3:55:26 PM

I am still laughing at this even though it is not funny. It is quite sad that jews have to give up everything to appease the world. I say screw them and lets do our own thing. We can do it.

Posted by: Tanisha | Dec 9, 2005 10:28:33 PM

Reminds me of the movie "Sunshine" for some reason. *Sigh*.

Posted by: Irina | Dec 9, 2005 10:58:43 PM

Tanisha... If we don't laugh about it we'll cry.

Irina... I haven't seen it, but I'll take your word for it.

Posted by: David | Dec 10, 2005 9:50:04 PM

I know you think I'm nuts but perhaps you could hear what I'm trying to tell you if it comes from a Rabi.



Is up on israpundit right now.

Please read it. If you wish to comment on it by email I would apprecieate it.

Posted by: scott | Dec 11, 2005 2:31:02 AM

Scott... I don't think you're nuts. I also don't think Rabbis have any special insight on politics or the human condition. In fact, the type of socio-political tirade you've linked to is a rather American phenomenon whereby Jews look to their Rabbis for weekly socio-political catechism so they will know what to think. While the article you linked is interesting... it is simply one man's opinion and carries no more weight than something you or I might say.

Posted by: David | Dec 11, 2005 6:44:14 AM


I am nice to everyone. Ask my mom and she'll confirm it. ;)

Posted by: Jack | Dec 11, 2005 10:21:07 AM

ok fair enough. I would add however that when the whole western world has been and is continually brainwashed through an all but total media saturation to believe a lie ... someone needs to speak out. How could we reach a state wherein the USA would continually effectively encourage Palestinian terrorism while forcing Israel into a position of vulnerability ... unless indeed we live in darkness? Surely their is a veil drawn across our vision. It is analogous to Hitlers rise in Germany. How does an entire nation go violently murderously mad? Indeed the entire western world? The answer is in the Torah and it is ever the same. Human philosophy is nothing. Emptiness and clanging cymbols. The 'modern' attitude will snuff out all life on earth.

Posted by: scott | Dec 11, 2005 11:55:40 PM

i'm horrified at the last part of the post, in which you show that the world originally wanted the symbol that jews had to wear to be a freaking TARGET!

Posted by: J | Jan 1, 2009 11:42:43 AM

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