Moscow "World Youth Festival" Israeli delegation pin, 1957-58; no maker mark - probably Israeli manufacture; weight: 4.85g; size: 31.5mm x 26.5mm. In VF-EF, with a few cracks in the enamel paint.
Design incorporates image of the festival's official emblem of Red Square tower in stylized 5-pointed star in black enamel and number "58" beside it in red enamel, with Israeli flag at lower left in blue and white enamel.
Though marked "58" this appears to be for the 1957 second "World Youth Festival" held in Moscow, to which Israel sent a delegation of around 250 members.
In her early years, with a Socialist-oriented government and a strong socialist-communist following in the land - particularly in the kibbutzim (agricultural communal settlements), Israel had lukewarm relations with the Soviet Union (the USSR was also the second country to recognize her when she declared her independence 10 years before); particularly with Premier Brezhnev's attempts to liberalize Soviet culture after the Stalinist period, Israeli participation in such an event is not surprising.
Accounts speak of 34,000 foreign guests, including 1600 British and 160 American guests and the Syrian national basketball team among others, and 60,000 Soviet delegates who attended the 2-week festival between July and August 1957, which included games, conferences and much political content.
For Soviet Jews this was their first encounter with their (free) Israeli counterparts, and the impression their contact made left its mark in later years: as early as 1958 Soviet authorities cracked down on local Jews who had been in contact with the Israelis. The previous festival was held in Warsaw in 1955 and the third one, in 1959, in Vienna and the fourth, in 1962, in Helsinki.