Mark Addleman

11 January 2024

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Hadassah’s Solidarity Mission to Israel took place this week, with our supporters from around the world, to stand in solidarity, witness the transformative work underway, and share in the uplifting stories of resilience.


The mission began with a heart-breaking visit to the Hostage Task Force Centre, where the group heard from Moran and Raz who have family held in Gaza and told us how they are fighting every day to #bringthemhomenow. John and Rachel Goldberg-Polin spoke about their son Hersh, currently held captive in Gaza. Our thoughts are with the hostages and their families, and we pray for their safe return.


Hadassah are grateful to Avi Mayer, former Editor-in-Chief of The Jerusalem Post, and Eylon Levy, Government of Israel Spokesperson who addressed the mission in a special briefing: “The difficult part is coming to Israel on a solidarity visit and bearing witness to the atrocities of October 7th. You offer a listening ear and a supportive shoulder to the families of the hostages and the victims.”


Hadassah has been at the forefront of medical efforts, treating hundreds of severely wounded patients and conducting over 140 surgeries immediately following October 7th. To ensure continuous care, underground emergency facilities have been established on both campuses, enabling treatment for more than 300 patients, including 60 in intensive care.


On the second day of the mission, the group visited Hadassah’s new Gandel Rehabilitation Centre at Mt. Scopus which will soon be excepting its very first patients. Hadassah fast -tracked construction to open the centre quickly due to the increasing amount of rehabilitation patients in Israel. The first phase will include the opening of the inpatient, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and hydrotherapy departments.


The group also met Hadassah patient Sagi, from Kibbutz Beeri who was attacked with his family, shot at, and his home set on fire on October 7th. Sagi was badly burned all over his body and spent three weeks in Hadassah Ein Kerem for treatment, followed by nearly two months in Hadassah’s Rehabilitation Centre.


At Hadassah Ein Kerem, the solidarity mission heard stories from some of the amazing Hadassah professionals who treated wounded soldiers, identified burnt victims, and provided mental health support all while experiencing their own trauma. This was followed by a tour of the underground protected areas at the hospital: the underground Surgical Centre, the Emergency Hospital and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, as well as the Trauma Centre.


The day ended with an important briefing and message from President Isaac Herzog, “Israel has a long journey of healing ahead. We are enduring horrific personal & national traumas. Your support for Israel’s healthcare, and solidarity with the Israeli people is a great strength for all of us.”

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