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...

  • Book Reviews Commentary ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    Kosher Lust, by Shmuley Boteach (Gefen Publishing House, 2014). You really do want to find something positive to say about Shmuley Boteach. He is a phenomenon; very bright, an articulate bundle of energy and self-promotion. Anyone who has the chutzpah to describe himself as “America’s Rabbi” deserves ten out of ten for effort. I believe that along with most Chabad alumni, official and unofficial, he does a lot of good and is a sort of national treasure. In this world [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    JNS.org – In a throwback to the golden age of cinema, Hollywood has declared 2014 the “Year of the Bible.” From Ridley Scott’s Exodus starring Christian Bale as Moses, to Russell Crowe playing Noah, Hollywood is gambling on new innovations in technology and star power to revisit some of the most popular stories ever told. “It’s definitely a throwback to the 1950s and early ’60s,” Dr. Stephen J. Whitfield, an American Studies professor at Brandeis University, told JNS.org. Starting with The [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    Eddie Carmel, dubbed “The Jewish Giant” by American photographer Diane Arbus, is the centerpiece of a new exhibit opening April 11 at The Jewish Museum in New York. Arbus met Carmel, who was billed “The World’s Tallest Man,” at Hubert’s Dime Museum and Flea Circus in 1959 but waited until 1970 to photograph him at his parents’ home in the Bronx, according to the museum. The son of immigrants from Tel Aviv, Carmel posed for Arbus with his head bowed to [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Disney Hit ‘Frozen’ Gets Passover Themed Makeover With ‘Chozen’ (VIDEO)

    Disney Hit ‘Frozen’ Gets Passover Themed Makeover With ‘Chozen’ (VIDEO)

    A Passover themed cover of hit songs Let It Go and Do You Want to Build a Snowman? from Disney’s Frozen has attracted tons of media buzz and a cool 65,ooo views on YouTube within days of going online. The work of Jewish a capella group Six13, the track is aptly named Chozen. We are celebrating “our freedom, our favorite festival, our fabulous fans, and aspiring Disney princesses everywhere” the group said. The Chozen music video tells the story of [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Retreat Gives Young Artists New Platform to Engage With Jewish Ideas

    Retreat Gives Young Artists New Platform to Engage With Jewish Ideas

    JNS.org – Many young Jewish artists struggle to define who they are personally, artistically, and religiously. Against the backdrop of that struggle, the recent Asylum Arts International Jewish Artists Retreat provided a space for some 70 young Jewish artists to explore Jewish ideas, to build community and a culture of reciprocity, and to learn skills to assist their career development. “We are trying to encourage and excite people to engage in Jewish themes,” says Rebecca Guber, director of Asylum Arts. [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Literature Darren Aronofsky Adds Psychological Depth, Little Else to ‘Noah’

    Darren Aronofsky Adds Psychological Depth, Little Else to ‘Noah’

    JNS.org – Has the era of large-scale biblical epics returned? Not since “The Ten Commandments” has there been so much torrential water on the big screen (not counting weather-related disaster films such as “The Impossible”) than in “Noah,” the latest blockbuster from writer and director Darren Aronofsky. “Noah” takes the traditional tale and splices it in an eco-friendly and psychologically driven plot. After Adam and Eve got booted out of the Garden of Eden and after Cain killed Abel, mankind [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Israel Israeli Arab Microbiologist Wins on Israel’s ‘MasterChef’ Reality Show

    Israeli Arab Microbiologist Wins on Israel’s ‘MasterChef’ Reality Show

    JNS.org – An Israeli-Arab microbiologist and mother of three won the fourth season of Israel’s most popular reality TV show, “MasterChef.” Nof Atamna-Ismaeel, 32, who holds a PhD in microbiology and is from the Israeli-Arab town of Baqa al-Gharbiyye, described winning as the “the most exciting moment in her life.” She said she plans to use the prize money to open up an Arab-Jewish cooking school. MasterChef is a popular reality TV show that originated in the U.K. It is [...]

    Read more →
  • Europe Theater Play About Muslim Man Who Discovers His Parents Are Jewish Seeking Funds

    Play About Muslim Man Who Discovers His Parents Are Jewish Seeking Funds

    Jewish comedian and writer David Baddiel is seeking public support to help produce a musical based on his film about a British Muslim man who discovers his parents are Jewish. London’s Theatre Royal Stratford East is in development to premiere The Infidel in October, London’s Evening Standard reported on Wednesday. However, the theater needs another £55,000 on top of around £200,000 already raised in order to produce the show. Baddiel, 49, retained the stage rights to the story when he wrote the [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.