Building better understanding between Israelis and Palestinians through health


It’s not by coincidence that Hadassah Hospital was the birthplace of Project Rozana. Or that Izzat Abdulhadi, the Head of the Palestinian Delegation in Australia, was the project  ‘midwife’.

For more than a century, Hadassah has paved the way for westernised healthcare in Israel and provided a template for coexistence that has been hailed and tested in equal measure over that time.

It has always embraced the ‘other’; its doors are never closed to anyone in need of medical care or support. Dr Qanta Ahmed, a brave, opinionated and inspirational British-born Muslim doctor, author and advocate for reconciliation between Muslims, Jews and Christians, termed the phrase “an island of calm in a sea of chaos” to describe Hadassah Hospital. Her comments weren’t made in order to pander to anyone – that isn’t her style – but in response to her first visit to Hadassah. She has visited many times since.

Its history is truly glorious, both in terms of the leadership it has shown in the delivery of patient-centred healthcare in Israel, and in its embrace of people without reference to their gender, religion, ethnicity, nationality or political affiliation.

Today, every hospital in Israel follows the model established by Hadassah. So it’s natural that an outreach program like Project Rozana would be inspired not only by the hospital but by the staff who are drawn to its humanity and ethos, which are faithful to the guiding principles espoused by its founder, Henrietta Szold.

Although Hadassah Australia is relatively young, having celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2012, Australian Jewry has always been supportive of Hadassah Hospital. On a per capita basis, we are one of its largest donors. But we also engage with our independent spirit by creating new opportunities that enhance the standing and reach of Hadassah Hospital. Many of our programs have been adopted by Hadassah International, a confederation of like-minded organisations around the world.

While Project Rozana is one of our proudest achievements, we also feel proud of Goshen, a family-based community healthcare program, the Jerusalem Crisis Intervention Center, and the Healing Garden at Mt Scopus. I encourage you to visit to discover what these programs are delivering to the people of Jerusalem and beyond.

Project Rozana is unstoppable. As long as there are people committed to helping people in need and to do so without passing judgement, the program will continue to grow and to empower those who are most in need of excellent healthcare.

I am indebted to a great many people who have taken on the mission of Project Rozana – Prof Eitan Kerem, Ambassador Izzat Abdulhadir, Dame Marie Bashir, Australian Board members of Project Rozana, the Board members of The Rozana Foundation in Israel, and our dedicated staff, supporters and partners worldwide.

And most particularly I want to acknowledge and thank Maysa and Rozana Abu Ghannam. Little did you know that your story would inspire a global audience dedicated to peace and cooperation between people.
Ron Finkel, President, Hadassah Australia