For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Today’s Haaretz Magazine profile of Palestinian filmmaker Rima Essa and her new documentary on a Palestinian child with leukemia raises important questions. Essa (and presumably her film) complains mainly about Israel. But she also has harsh words for Palestinian hospitals.
“‘At [Israeli hospital] Hadassah Ein Karem the oncology ward looks very nice and well kept; there’s a playroom and toys and someone who devotes their time to the sick children. … At the hospitals in the territories you don’t find conditions like that. At [West Bank hospital] Al-Hussein, I saw a nicely painted playroom with Lego and puzzles, but it was open only two hours a day because there was no budget and no volunteers.
‘The people who live in the territories don’t have the same kind of awareness. Maybe because they themselves live in difficult conditions; maybe it’s a cultural thing. I saw Ahlam’s mother pleading with neighbors and people from the area to donate blood for her daughter. There’s no awareness in our society about things like donating blood, or organ donations’. …
[Essa] documented Al-Hussein’s use of drugs from Israel that were past their expiration date. In one of the film’s toughest scenes, the medical staff knows that two injections of a certain drug are needed, but the department only has enough for one. The staff decides to divide the one dose they have between Ahlam and another little girl. …”
Clearly, the Palestinian Authority can’t fund its hospitals as Israel does (though it could stop buying expired drugs): It’s a young, struggling state-in-the-making, while Israel is a 62-year-old, comparatively wealthy state. But Israel had relatively good hospitals even when it, too, was a young, struggling state-to-be, thanks to the generosity of overseas Jews, who built, equipped, and staffed them. Hadassah Hospital, for instance, was founded by the American Hadassah organization, which built six hospitals in Israel before the state’s establishment. Even today, donations from overseas Jews contribute greatly to Israel’s cutting-edge medicine.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"