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June 21, 2015 11:24 am

Shimon Peres: Israel’s Best Foreign Policy is its Medical Industry

avatar by Anav Silverman / Tazpit News Agency

Rambam Health Care Campus patients are transported to the Haifa-based facility's fortified underground hospital. Photo: Rambam Health Care Campus.

Rambam Health Care Campus patients are transported to the Haifa-based facility’s fortified underground hospital. Photo: Rambam Health Care Campus.

HAIFA, ISRAEL –  More than 150 leading medical researchers, healthcare policy makers, and philanthropists gathered recently at northern Israel’s leading medical center, Ramban Hospital, for the “From Vision to Reality” summit.

Former Israeli President Shimon Peres, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, world-renowned geneticist Mary-Claire King and Mariita, and George Feldenkreis of Miami – the chairman and chief executive officer of Perry Ellis International, were all honored as part of Rambam Health Care Campus’ annual summit from June 7-9.

“I believe that medicine will play a major role in building peace in the Middle East,” said former President Peres.

“Rambam Hospital is a messenger of humanity. Medicine gives hope for all of us. I believe that the best foreign policy of Israel is with its medicine,” added Peres.

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Mary-Claire King, a genetics professor at the University of Washington, who is most famously known for identifying the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that are responsible for many breast and ovarian cancers, also commented on Israel’s advanced medical care.

“This region, because of its unique history, unique demographic, remarkable diversity of population, combined with superb medical care and excellent scientific infrastructure, makes this a uniquely fine place in the world to carry out the kind of work I do,” said Professor King, who was awarded the prestigious Lasker Prize last year for her achievements in the medical field.

“Rambam is a hospital for the world. It’s remarkable to go, for example, to the pediatric dialysis unit and see eight young patients, four Jewish and four Arab,” she said. “It’s a perfectly normal and absolutely natural situation, all caring for one another. It’s a model for the world and the fact that Rambam puts medicine before politics is what attracts me to this hospital,” the genetics professor added.

Over the course of the summit, attendees had the opportunity to view the newly-renovated Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital and hear discussion panels with medical leaders from around the world on an array of groundbreaking medical topics. The three days showcased the latest medical innovations and gave host to some of the leading personnel in medicine presenting to the delegation on a wide-range of topics, from the future of digital health, to world disease caused by genetic mutation.

Participants also had the opportunity to view a live simulation of Rambam’s Samy Ofer Underground Fortified Emergency Hospital, the largest and most advanced of its kind in the world, which was opened in April 2014. The facility was designed based on lessons learned from the Second Lebanon War, when 60 rockets fell within a half mile radius surrounding Rambam. The current simulation comes amidst an increased threat in recent months from Hezbollah and other terrorist groups on Israel’s northern border.

“It was incredible to see so many of the world’s leading scientists and dignitaries at the hospital over the past few days, truly engaging in information and dialogue that will help shape the future of medicine and make the world, and Israel, a better place,” noted Director General of Rambam, Rafi Beyar.

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