Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Showing Scotland Another Side of Israel

November 14, 2013 10:10 am 10 comments

A Syrian refugee is treated at Ziv Medical Center in Israel's northern city of Safed. Photo: Ziv Medical Center.

SCOTLAND – The story of Emek Medical Center in Afula, Israel, is little known within the international community – but Larry Rich, the Center’s Director of Development and Public Relations, is on a mission to change that. He has traveled across the world to share the story of the hospital, located in the Jezreel Valley in northern Israel, which serves half a million Jews, Muslims, Christians, and Druze from the region.

Most recently, Rich visited Scotland, a country not known for its friendly Israel views. Rich traveled there to talk about the Israel he knows – seen through the prism of a medical institution, where the efforts of Jewish and Arab physicians to heal patients of all backgrounds are part of everyday life.

Rich told Tazpit News Agency that the reactions to his talks – even from the most hostile of audiences – are largely positive.

“I’m just a guy that works in a hospital – not a politician,” said Rich. “And I share what I see – Arabs and Jews working together and caring for each other in a setting where barriers and stereotypes don’t exist. It’s a reality of Israel that never gets exposure in international media.”

He cites the years of the first and second Intifada, when Emek Medical Center treated hundreds of Palestinian men, women, and children from Jenin and Judea and Samaria without payment. “Despite the threats that Israel faces, our medical institutions across Israel give equal medical treatment to all.”

Additionally, Emek Medical Center, which has 500 beds and staffs 300 physicians and 700 nurses along with support personnel, also provides medical training to Arab doctors and surgeons from Jordan.

“What makes the Emek hospital so unique is that it is made up of a multi-ethnic staff that services a multi-ethnic population. There is no institution like this in the entire Middle East,” Rich told Tazpit.

“After my talks, I often hear from members of Muslim audiences, who tell me that they have never heard of this kind of story coming out of Israel,” said the American-born Rich, who has also spoken to J Street and Muslim activist groups in the United States. “Most anti-Israel activists – when they listen – are taken by complete surprise.”

During the Scotland tour, Rich spoke in several cities including Glasgow and St. Andrews, as well as at the Scottish Parliament and the University of Dundee, where audiences filled with anti-Israel hecklers attempted unsuccessfully to disrupt Rich’s talks.

A noted Scottish doctor involved with the BDS movement gave an anti-Israel rant following Rich’s talk at the Scottish Parliament – but paused to ask if Emek Hospital would be willing to provide surgical treatment to a patient who was an acquaintance of his in the region.

“I have a feeling that he was talking about a Palestinian and I gave him my contact information but I haven’t yet heard from the patient since I’ve returned to Israel,” said Rich. “I hope to hear from him soon.”

One of the most important points that Rich imparts to his audiences is that there are different ways to see the Jewish state. “People have a choice – to focus on hatred and divisiveness, or on real life examples of human co-existence. Emek Hospital is a story that needs to be on the table.”


  • As a member of a kibbutz near Afula, in the Jezreel Valley, I have often wished Israel bashers could spend a day in the Ha’Emek Hospital of Afula. One sees respectful treatment given to all. The top doctors are often Arab and highly praised for the humane and excellent care they provide.
    The hospital is a true model of co-existence (among many others, such as in the field of education or the army), and renders any slanderous claims of apartheid ridiculous.

  • Wish we could hear more about these stories, especially in Australia may start to make more people realise how good Israel actually is, it truly is a shining light in a very dark part of the world.

  • The BDS doctor is quite the hypocrite.

  • E.A.Karting-Hallegua

    Many years ago, while being on a hitch-hiking tour through Israel I met with a very serious accident in which my skull was crushed and my brains were damaged and as such I practically died clinically. Since it was very near a hospital, within a few minutes some doctors attended to me and revived me without questioning my race, religion or my nationality, and although I was in a coma for 8 weeks and it took me more than a year to function again reasonably well, I know of no other country where such a miracle of compassion and expertise would have been available. But wasn’t that land, some 2000 years earlier, not known already of miraculously reviving the dead?

    • Never Israeli hospitals questions about race, religion or the nationality of a patient – whatever anti-Israeli people might say. Their medical excellence and innovation is known throughout the world. I wish you good health and a happy life!

  • This is what is the love of God being graciously given. It’s the way it’s supposed to be done. Why are people so suprised. Israel gets it.

  • I live near Boston, MA

    If I encountered a heckler , my response would be

    ” I’ll make a proposition. I’ll dress up as an Arab stroll down the street in Tel Aviv

    You ll dress up as a Jew and stroll down the street in Ramallah.

    I think the results should answer many issues.

    Alan Bernson

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.

Current day month ye@r *


  • Arts and Culture Features Opinion Playwrite Iddo Netanyahu: ‘Hitler Always Talked About Peace’ (INTERVIEW)

    Playwrite Iddo Netanyahu: ‘Hitler Always Talked About Peace’ (INTERVIEW)

    Late Friday night, on November 13, I was headed for bed when an ominous news bulletin flashed across my computer screen – something about a shooting in Paris. It wasn’t long before the “small number” of shootings and casualties began to double and triple and quadruple. The locations of attacks seemed crazily disorganized, and the tweets and videos became more and more horrifying. It was a long night for many stunned observers. We tried to understand what was happening, and […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Theater BDS Gives Belgian-Jewish Actress New Lease on Life in Tel Aviv

    BDS Gives Belgian-Jewish Actress New Lease on Life in Tel Aviv

    In an interview with the Israeli site nrg on Wednesday, Belgian-Jewish stage actress Noemi Schlosser recounted immigrating to Israel after her career in Europe was destroyed by BDS. Schlosser said she had enjoyed success in Belgium and international acclaim until she was targeted by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for her pro-Israel stance during Operation Protective Edge — last summer’s war against Hamas in Gaza. She described watching the theaters where she performed go from packed to nearly empty over a short period of […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports In Israel for Champions League Soccer Match, Chelsea Manager Says Team Not Worried About Security Situation

    In Israel for Champions League Soccer Match, Chelsea Manager Says Team Not Worried About Security Situation

    The manager of the Chelsea Football Club said on Monday that he is looking forward to playing in Israel this week against Maccabi Tel Aviv, in spite of the security situation, Israeli news site nrg reported. Jose Murinho, who is already in Israel with his team to compete against Maccabi in the Champions League soccer match, was  asked whether he was worried about the current wave of Palestinian violence sweeping the country. “I have no worries at all regarding the security situation, and neither do […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Opinion In the Middle East, ‘The Tail Wags the Dog’ (REVIEW)

    In the Middle East, ‘The Tail Wags the Dog’ (REVIEW)

    Blaming the West has become the most pervasive method of teaching for many Middle East studies departments, which are becoming the heart of pop-culture academia. Efraim Karsh, a distinguished professor of Middle Eastern studies at Bar-Ilan University and professor emeritus at King’s College London, in his latest book The Tail Wags the Dog: International Politics and the Middle East, dispels this myth. “Britain’s ‘original sin,’ if such was indeed committed, lay not in the breaking up of Middle Eastern unity but […]

    Read more →
  • Features Spirituality/Tradition With Popularity and Sales up, ‘Mensch on a Bench’ Has Much to Smile About

    With Popularity and Sales up, ‘Mensch on a Bench’ Has Much to Smile About – The Mensch on a Bench is so much happier now than he was a year ago. Look carefully and you will notice that, whereas the previous Mensch had a decidedly worried look, this latest version of the popular Hanukkah toy is flashing an exuberant grin. Is the erstwhile Mensch smiling because he expects to be in some 100,000 homes by year’s end? In truth, the change in visage was suggested last year by the “sharks” on ABC’s Shark Tank […]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Adam Sandler Updates Famous ‘Chanukah Song,’ Includes Hulk Hogan, David Beckham and Scarlett Johansson in Latest Version

    Adam Sandler Updates Famous ‘Chanukah Song,’ Includes Hulk Hogan, David Beckham and Scarlett Johansson in Latest Version

    Actor Adam Sandler unveiled a new version of his famous “Chanukah Song” on Saturday, adding a slew of Jewish celebrities to the ditty’s updated lyrics. The comedian — who released the original song about being Jewish during Christmas in 1996 — performed the latest version of the comedic track during the New York Comedy Festival at Carnegie Hall. Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee, actor Jake Gyllenhaal and “the two guys who founded Google” are among the famous Jewish celebrities now in the line up. Sandler also included lyrics about Star Wars‘ Princess […]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Famed Israeli Violinist Itzhak Perlman to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

    Famed Israeli Violinist Itzhak Perlman to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom – Famed Israeli violinist Itzhak Perlman will be among the 17 recipients of America’s Presidential Medal of Freedom next week. He is the fourth Israeli to receive the highest civilian honor in the US. “A native of Israel, he came to the United States at a young age and was introduced to Americans broadly when he appeared on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ in 1958. Mr. Perlman made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1963 when he was 18,” a White House […]

    Read more →
  • Features Spirituality/Tradition Don’t Think Israel is a Luxury Destination? Check Out These 6 Spots

    Don’t Think Israel is a Luxury Destination? Check Out These 6 Spots – While Israel is a common destination for cultural and religious pilgrimages, travelers seeking the best hotels, fine dining, and upscale relaxation less often find themselves in the Holy Land. Yet in recent years, the country’s burgeoning tech scene has attracted a business crowd accustomed to ritzy accommodation. Besides, the permanent summer of Tel Aviv and Eilat makes them prime destinations for European vacationers. Israel’s populace managed to tame the swamps and irrigate the desert — so going luxury should […]

    Read more →