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.”

10 Comments

  • 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.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Blogs 10 New Hollywood Movies That Aim to Show Support for Israel (SATIRE)

    10 New Hollywood Movies That Aim to Show Support for Israel (SATIRE)

    Ten major film studios are currently in production on projects that promote a decidedly pro-Israeli narrative. In famously liberal Hollywood, such a development has left mouths agape and set tongues a wagging. Since the Jewish State began defending itself from the thousands of rockets that Hamas has hurled at it – as well as ongoing terror attacks and murders, the overwhelming number of Tinseltown’s producers, directors, actors, and studio moguls have remained indifferent to the plight of millions of Israeli [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Israel Sports So Close: Israeli Judoka Loses Crown in World Cup Final, Finishes With Silver (VIDEO)

    So Close: Israeli Judoka Loses Crown in World Cup Final, Finishes With Silver (VIDEO)

    Israeli Judoka Yarden Gerbi (63kg), 25, of Netanya, on Thursday lost the final round at the Judo World Cup, and her world title to Clarisse Agbegnenou of France, at a match held in Russia. “I have mixed feelings,” Gerbi told Israeli Army radio. But, “I shouldn’t assume that I’d win the world Judo championship twice in a row,” she admitted. Gerbi won gold in Rio De Janeiro last year. “When I made my decision, I knew it was going to [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity Surviving the Holocaust by Hiding Their Faith (REVIEW)

    Surviving the Holocaust by Hiding Their Faith (REVIEW)

    “Jews Out!” was just the name of a child’s game that three little girls played in World War II Europe. But all is not as it seems because the three girls were Jewish, but hiding their true identities. In award-winning author R. D. Rosen’s riveting non-fiction work, Such Good Girls, “Jews Out!” wasn’t a game; it was a struggle for survival. The girls, Sophie, Flora, and Carla, grew up at a time and a place that did not allow them [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities Twenty Years On, the Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

    Twenty Years On, the Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

    JNS.org – “He was part hippie, part yippie, part beatnik, and part New Age,” wrote Elli Wohlgelernter in a Jerusalem Post eulogy in 1994, following the Oct. 20 passing of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. Twenty years later, more robust accounts of Carlebach’s life have come to the surface. Earlier this year, Natan Ophir published the book Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach: Life, Mission & Legacy. This past summer, Rabbi Shlomo Katz’s The Soul of Jerusalem hit the shelves. But even the authors will admit [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Music Beatlemania Invades the Gaza Strip (SATIRE)

    Beatlemania Invades the Gaza Strip (SATIRE)

    As Hamas loses its grip on power in the Gaza Strip as a result of war, poverty and disillusionment, the Islamist terrorist group has developed an ingenious way to raise the moral of the 1.7 million Palestinian Arabs it was elected to serve. While currently focused on delivering a rocket into every Israeli home, Hamas has not left its own people behind. To gently wipe away the tears of children strategically placed inside kindergartens as human shields, the Hamas Interior Ministry has [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    In a strong statement that challenges the historic divide between Christianity and Judaism, Pope Francis recently proclaimed, “Inside every Christian is a Jew.” But if you look at Renaissance artworks that depict Jesus, you will not find any evidence of a Jew inside the Christianized Jesus — even though the Gospels in the New Testament tell us that Jesus was Jewish to the core. Getting that point across to the public is a daunting task, as I learned in interviews I [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities Recycling His Roots

    Recycling His Roots

    JNS.org – Having started his career playing on his family’s pots and pans, Jewish musician Billy Jonas has maintained this homemade performance ethic while spreading his messages of simple living and environmentalism to a shared home throughout the world. After beginning in the kitchen, Jonas soon moved to the music room, where he picked up the piano, guitar, and trombone. These days, the multi-talented multi-instrumentalist plays on with pretty much anything he can find, including cans, bottles buckets, and other recycled-object [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    JNS.org – Sara Davidson’s The December Project is a new book that should be read by all senior citizens, and by those who hope to live a long life, for it raises a question that most of us have not been taught how to answer: What should we do in that final stage of our lives? Many of us continue working past the traditional retirement age of 65, not because we need the money and not because we find the [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.