Another ridiculous fabrication

January 29, 2008 at 4:13 pm 3 comments

Racism in Israeli hospitals



Israel has been accused of a multitude of crimes in the international media – including the poisoning of water sources, infecting babies with AIDS and  many other similarly absurd fabrications.

It’s a pity that all the lying  bashers of Israel (and they are not all limited to the Arab world or to Islamic countries), haven’t visited Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem to see just how malicious the Jews really are. Hadassah Hospital is a major medical center set up a few generations ago by Jewish American women.

Immediately on entering, one is struck by the multi-racial nature of the place. Ostensibly a Jewish hospital, it seems that almost half its patients are nevertheless Arabs – not only from within Israel but from Judea, Samaria and other parts of the Arab world.

Many of the doctors are Arabs. Indeed, some department heads and professors in Hadassah’s medical school are Arabs. Among head nurses are Arabs. There is a spirit of mutual tolerance throughout this constantly crowded place. Outpatient clinics and wards are full of patients and people accompanying them. All ages, all kinds, all religions, all races. They mingle patiently.

Sometimes a question is asked in Hebrew: “How long have you been waiting for the doctor?” An Arab father might answer in Hebrew. “The doctor was called away on an emergency. They said he’d be back in half an hour.” This sets the tone for a conversation. “Where do you live?” “How many children do you have?” “May you be in good health!” “Inshallah!” (“God willing” in Arabic.)

Generally, the Middle East conflict is never discussed in the hospital. Occasionally an Arab patient might sigh something like: “If only there was peace.” The Jew will nod his or her head and say; “Inshallah!”. There seems to be an unspoken rule in the hospital to shun any possibility of tension. People realize that the purpose of the place is healing.

My daughter has spent a number of lengthy  stints at Hadassah Hospital, culminating in bladder reconstruction and kidney transplant during 2007. Dr. Landau, the surgeon treating her for a number of years, is the kind of guy who will come into the ward on Saturday – his day off and in his ordinary clothes – just to check up on a patient who’s not doing as well as expected.

He worked in close contact with Prof. Ahmed Eid, the head of the transplant department, who led the team that transplanted my left kidney into Tali’s body. It was a seminal event in my life, not only because I could help my daughter in a significant way, but also being witness and participant in Hadassah’s world of healing, compassion and mutual respect, despite the fury and hatred so inherent in the Middle East.

One could write a book about the spirit in Hadassah or do a great documentary film. Whole families of Jews and Arabs come trooping in to visit their hospitalized kin. A large percentage of the nurses are Arabs. So are the doctors – like Prof. Eid who is one of the most senior figures in Hadassah. The cleaning staff are mainly Arabs, Russian or Ethiopian immigrants with a few regular native-born Israelis.  

One of the women who makes the beds and does all the less asthetic work – a big, rolly-poly Jewish amazon-type nursing aid with a ready smile and a laugh, would often share a joke with our daughter after or before sitting for a moment with her room mate, who would frequently be an Arab woman. There was no difference in the amazon’s attitude, which I am pretty sure was not part of her training as a nursing aid, but in keeping with the spirit of Hadassah.

There seemed to be no trace of tension or dislike – not among or between staff and patients. Jewish patients and Arab patients quickly get onto the same footing, talking to each other, caring. There’s no favoritism either. Maybe I’ve painted too idyllic a picture. There are occasional incidents of grumbling or inconsiderate noise here and there. But I seldom encountered anything with a blatant racial tone.

Ironically one of the most vicious bashers of Israel is Ahmed Tibi, the Knesset Member. He graduated at the Hadassah Medical School and later specialized as a gynecologist there. Actually the first time he was in the news was about fifteen years ago. Newspapers reported that he had slapped the face of a security man at the entrance to the hospital who had asked to see his identification. Since then he continues metaphorically slapping Israel’s face, denouncing Israel as racist and criminal. But he has never, to my knowledge, ever mentioned the spirit of Hadassah.

Incidentally, I have visited other hospitals in Israel and the same spirit of racial harmony and cooperation seems to pervade. It’s seldom if ever mentioned in the media, in Israel and abroad. It should be.


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Entry filed under: Things not mentioned in the press. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

Impressive racial harmony A CURSE OR A BLESSING?

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Olivia Wheatley Stachorek  |  May 17, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Thank you for this article. I became familiar with Haddassah Hospital while living in Jerusalem in the early ’80s, and I can vouch for all you have outlined here. One vivid recollection is of the many Arab families camped in the corridors of the facility to be near a family member receiving treatment. Not only did the hospital serve every ethic group in Israel equally, but the school of medicine there trained health professionals from all over the world to set up clinics at Israel’s expense. I was especially impressed with the humanitarianism of the School of Epidemiology in supplying Third World nations with experts in the fields of diagnosis, child care, and preventative medicine. May G_d bless Israel this 60th anniversary for being a blessing to the nations, as a fulfillment to the Almighty’s purposes.

  • 2. Norma Nation  |  May 17, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    This is an outstanding description of the reality of life in the community of Hadassah Hospital. Thank you for putting it into focus clearly and thoroughly. This should be circulated to all Hadassah patrons and the media at large. I’m sending this article to friends here and asking them to pass along…
    Thank you!

  • 3. Barbara Charlaff  |  May 22, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Did you know that Hadassah was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, last year or the year before for it’s service to all creeds and clolours including patients from neighbouring countries?
    Thanks for a great article and your interesting newsletter.


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