Rambam Health Care Center is hosting the publisher of a prestigious British medical journal, demonstrating the falsehood of damaging accusations against Israel.   

The medical world was shaken during Operation Protective Edge when prestigious British medical journal The Lancet published a malicious open letter signed by 24 doctors accusing Israel of a “massacre,” “cruel” and “vicious war crimes” and a “ruthless assault of unlimited duration, extent and intensity” in Gaza.

“Israeli academics are complicit in the massacre and destruction of Gaza,” the letter claimed.

Setting the Record Straight

Israeli physicians, researchers and officials were distressed by the letter and decided to set the record straight by inviting Professor Richard Horton, editor of the publication, to visit Rambam Health Care Center (RHCC) in Haifa and witness first-hand ”the diversity and multicultural administration of Israeli medical care.”

Horton has been meeting with senior researchers and physicians at Rambam and at the Technion’s Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, as well as attending seminars.

Rambam officials explained that the purpose of Horton’s visit was to provide a venue for academic discussions and meetings in Israel’s multicultural medical institutions that have strong cooperation agreements with the Palestinian Authority. Some lectures examine the limits and appropriateness of freedom of political opinion in scientific journals, including open discussion on the unilateralism of which The Lancet has been accused by those who took offense at the open letter.

“Rambam Health Care Campus is a medical institution—characterized by some of the highest standards of scientific research in the world, creating an unusual human mosaic—an employee culture that includes all sectors and groups in Israel,” Prof. Rafi Beyar, director of Rambam, stated. “I believe that Professor Horton will certainly hear from impressive professional colleagues and raise questions about the publications that caused such a furor two months ago. He will be invited to express his opinion. I believe he will be quite impressed and will learn that Israel’s public health system does its very best to genuinely care for its neighbors, that multiculturalism and medical education is extended to health care professionals in the Palestinian Authority, and he will observe Rambam’s exceptional openness and scientific representatives on behalf of the State of Israel for the development of global research and medicine.”

The invitation was endorsed by the Ministry of Health.

Benefiting Hundreds of Arab Patients Yearly

Rambam Health Care Campus provides medical care to hundreds of patients from Gaza and the Palestinian Authority (PA) year round; 650 children and teenagers were treated there throughout 2013. Just recently, for example, Israeli doctors at Rambam Hospital, using unique and innovative treatment, were able to save the life of a Palestinian teenager from Gaza.

During Operation Protective Edge, as terrorists in Gaza were firing on Israeli citizens, hospitalized patients at Rambam included three adults and eight children from Gaza as well as three adults and two children from the PA. The hospital was also treating seven patients from the PA in outpatient clinics.

A report published by Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Unit (COGAT) shows that 219,464 Palestinian patients received medical treatment in Israeli hospitals during 2012, including 21,270 children.

Author: Aryeh Savir
Staff Writer, United with Israel