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May 11, 2017 11:27 am

Israeli President Hails Top Medical Journal for Highlighting Jewish State’s Healthcare System

avatar by Ben Cohen

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Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. Photo: Twitter.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday warmly praised The Lancet — among the world’s best-known medical journals — for an extensive series on the Jewish state’s healthcare system it published this month, following a bitter controversy that began during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, when the London-based periodical published an open letter from doctors that accused the IDF of creating “an emergency to masquerade a massacre.”

“I want to thank you, and everyone here, for the important initiative of this special magazine: to show Israel’s healthcare system to the whole world, in your respected journal,” Rivlin told The Lancet editor Richard Horton at a meeting in Jerusalem . “Israeli doctors, and researchers, make miracles happen every day; in hospitals in towns, in cities, and yes, even on the front-line of a war.”

Horton — who was in charge of the journal when the letter was published — said, “I personally utterly reject the boycott against Israel. Boycotts entrench prejudice and hate, they perpetuate difference and we reject utterly that approach to discussing differences of opinion between communities and peoples.”

The series on Israeli healthcare was conceived after the Gaza war three years ago. “In July 2014, in the very midst of the conflict The Lancet published a letter that divided medical opinion worldwide,” Horton said in a statement announcing the publication of the series on Tuesday. “We have learned lessons from this unfortunate episode. Our collaboration seeks to undo the harm and tarnish of this episode by transforming those experiences into constructive practice.”

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That transformation is reflected in an issue that covers how Israel’s medical sector deals with, among other subjects, maternal and childcare, medical education, medical ethics and health disparities between Jewish and Arab citizens. It also includes profiles of leading healthcare professionals, such as Professor Orly Manor of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Another article, by a team of Arab and Jewish doctors, examines one of the more underreported aspects of the war in Syria — the medical care given to Syrian refugees by Israeli relief teams, as well as several Israeli hospitals.

“The provision of medical care to anyone in need is one of the ethical obligations of all medical professionals, and is also one of the foundations underlying humanitarian undertakings,” the authors wrote. “In this context we describe the efforts made to help refugees from a civil war in one of Israel’s neighboring countries.”

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