Building better understanding between Israelis and Palestinians through health





Ron Finkel AM, Chair, Project Rozana International and Project Rozana Australia.

It’s hard to imagine that five years ago, when Project Rozana was an idea without a name, we would influence the discourse between Israelis and Palestinians. Over the course of our history, we challenged the prevailing narrative which held that Israel took a paternalistic approach to the health needs of Palestinians, and that Palestinians begrudgingly accepted help.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Palestinian society is a vibrant place, limited by the funds necessary to build educational and health infrastructure commensurate with the size of the population and its needs, and rich in a desire for learning and willing, for the most part, to accept what Israel has to offer.

Israel, for its part, has invested exponentially in health and education, emerging after 70 years as a global powerhouse in both areas. It believes that training Palestinian healthcare workers is a pre-requisite for building a sustainable civil society, and that encouraging relationships between health professionals will benefit each community’s patient cohort.

This was the promise that Project Rozana brought to its launch in 2013. Today, I’m pleased to say that we have reached a point where the programs initiated or supported by us have are being implemented. This is a major achievement, not only because Project Rozana is delivering benefits to the most vulnerable children in the region, but it is empowering health workers and educators who are the torch bearers as well as the recipients of our programs.

Funds raised by Project Rozana affiliates in Australia, the United States, Canada and Israel are having a positive and demonstrable impact in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, Syria (via the work of Ziv Hospital in Zefat) and among the Kurdish communities of Iraq.

As you will see in this annual review, we have partnered with many impressive and committed organisations, all of whom are beacons of light squarely focused on the needs of the vulnerable in society.

In presenting this review for 2017-18, I want to thank the boards of each Project Rozana affiliate for their passionate and untiring commitment to the health and welfare needs of Palestinians and Israelis. They have worked assiduously to expand awareness about Project Rozana among their respective communities, with great results.


2017 – 2018

    ► Expansion of Project Rozana in Israel, Canada and the US.
    ► Publication of first Project Rozana International newsletter.
    ► Funding of gender reassignment surgery at Hadassah Hospital for Palestinian adolescent from the West Bank.
    ► Project Rozana joins the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP).
    ► Directors’ Mission to Israel and the West Bank.
    ► Establishment of a Project Rozana presence in Jordan through Hana Al-Masri, board member of Jordan Forum for Business and Professional Women and community activist.
    ► Paediatric Emergency Medicine Workshop at Hadassah Hospital with staff from Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick. Participation by Israeli, Palestinian and Iraqi Kurdish doctors.
    ► Start of second year of the Binational School of Psychotherapy.
    ► Article on Project Rozana by Ron Finkel AM, Chair of Project Rozana published in The Australian.
    ► Speakers’ tour of North America – Dr Khadra Salami, Professor Raphael Walden and Professor Adi Leiba.
    ► Publication of quarterly newsletter.
    ► Year Two of the three-year Peace in Sight fundraising campaign – Augusta Victoria Hospital, East Jerusalem.
    Building new networks with partner organisations…
    ► Green Land Society for Health Development – Hebron.
    ► Acre Arab Women’s Association (AAWA) – Acre.
    ► Nasaem Maqdisyah Association – East Jerusalem.
  8. MARCH
    ► Expansion of Road to Recovery into the West Bank – PRUSA funding of RtRWB coordinator Naeem Al Bayda.
    ► Green Land training course in Haifa.
    ► Project Rozana Canada achieves full charitable status.
  9. APRIL
    ► First Palestinian physician sub-specialty fellowships awarded for training at Hadassah Hospital and Sheba.
    ► Medical Centre – Dr Mohammed Majed Rabee Skafi from Hebron and Dr Majed Dabur from Ramallah.
    ► Publication of quarterly newsletter.
  10. MAY
    ► Adopt a Road to Recovery Driver program launched.
    ► Details announced of Patient Navigator program.


The success of Project Rozana is built on a global network of people and partnerships. In this Year in Review we celebrate the strategic partnerships that worked to make 2017-2018 one of our most important yet.



The Paediatric Emergency Medicine Workshop, with 22 doctors and nurses from Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and Kurdish Iraq was conceived by Dr Saar Hashavya of Hadassah Hospital.

It was developed in consultation with Dr Matthew O’Meara, Dr Arjun Rao, and nurse educator, Jane Cichero from Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick and held at Hadassah Ein Kerem in November, 2017.

Its purpose was to provide Israeli, Palestinian and Kurdish medical practitioners and specialists in paediatric emergency medicine with skills and knowledge to treat and care for children directly impacted by illness, trauma and tragedy.

Workshop participant

Dr Saar Hashavya, Pediatric specialist in Emergency Medicine and Director Pediatric Emergency, Hadassah Hospital



In October 2017, PRUSA (on behalf of Project Rozana International) joined the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP), an NGO that represents more than 100 organisations dedicated to building trust between Israelis and Palestinians.

Since then we have participated in meetings in Washington and Tel Aviv and, as a result of our membership, have been alerted to funding opportunities from the United States Institute of Peace and USAID.

With special thanks to Kenneth Bob, Chair of PRUSA, we have submitted a proposal on behalf of East Jerusalem NGO, Nasaem Maqdisyah Association, to provide transportation for Palestinians to Israeli hospitals from border crossings on the West Bank, accommodation and psycho-social support for caregivers of children in Israeli hospitals, and medical devices for children when they return home.

Project Rozana affiliates from Australia, Canada, the US, and Israel


The first international mission to Israel and the Palestinian Territories of Project Rozana affiliates from Australia, Canada, the US and Israel last November, proved to be far more than an exercise in goodwill, it was strategic. The intensive four-day mission was a huge success, fostering dedication and motivation of all board members to both pursue individual projects and work together to achieve our mutual goal of building better understanding between Israelis and Palestinians through health.

A personal highlight for mission delegate and Project Rozana Australia Board member, Dr Jamal Rifi AM, was a meeting at Sheba Medical Center with the protagonists of a documentary, ‘Muhi – Generally Temporary’, which charts the life of a young Palestinian boy from Gaza who was referred to Sheba as a very small child with a rare, life-threatening illness.

On his return to Sydney, Dr Rifi organised a special screening of the heartrending documentary in Bankstown. After the screening, which was attended by the Mayor of Canterbury Bankstown, Khal Asfour, Project Rozana President, Ron Finkel, and members of Sydney’s Muslim community. Dr Rifi led a discussion about Project Rozana and the confronting issues contained in the film.


Dr Jamal Rifi with Muhi and his grandfather (at left, rear) at Tel Hashomer-Sheba Medical Center

LEFT TO RIGHT: Mark Anshan PR-Can, Dr Khadra Salami and Prof Raphi Walden


Three prominent medical specialists advancing relations between Israelis and Palestinians, embarked on a seven-city roadshow around the United States and Canada in January-February, 2018. Headlining the tour were Dr Khadra Salami, a paediatric haemato-oncologist and a senior clinician at the Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem, Professor Raphael Walden, a Deputy Director General of Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv, and the Founder and former President of the Israeli NGO, Physicians for Human Rights, and Professor Adi Leiba, Head of the Department of Nephrology at the Assuta Hospital Ashdod and a former IDF Head of Medical and Health Operations on the West Bank.

It was an outstanding way for local audiences to hear about the work of Project Rozana from Israeli and Palestinian medical specialists who operate at the coal face, and to engage in conversation with the doctors and Project Rozana leadership regarding their work and their needs.

LEFT TO RIGHT:Dr Adi Leiba,Dr Khadra Salami and PR-USA’s Kenneth Bob.


Peace is coming, but it’s under the radar. This is the powerful message of Project Rozana’s Ron Finkel in an article published in The Australian in January, 2018. Ron captures the essence of Project Rozana’s purpose – to advance the health needs of the Palestinian community through collaboration with Israel’s respected and highly-regarded health system.

This has resulted in thousands of Palestinian doctors, nurses and therapists being trained at Israeli hospitals, many of whom return to their own communities to build the health infrastructure.

“Peace is coming,
but it’s under the radar.”


Road to Recovery Founder, Yuval Roth

Naeem Al Bayda West Bank Coordinator


We continue to support the invaluable work of Road to Recovery which offers a free service provided by volunteer drivers who transport Palestinian patients and their caregivers from the West Bank and Gaza border crossings to hospitals in Israel. Funding has been secured to build a cohort of Palestinian volunteers in the West Bank who will transport patients from their homes to the border crossing where they will link with the Road to Recovery Israeli volunteers. A full-time coordinator has been employed in the West Bank through the Hebron-based NGO Green Land Society for Health Development.



Following last year’s successful gender reassignment surgery of a 15-year-old girl from the West Bank at Hadassah Hospital, with funding supplied by Project Rozana, we have agreed to expand the program in 2018 to treat 10 more children needing a sexual differentiation disorder operation. These operations are not funded or supported by the Palestinian Authority, and no hospitals in the West Bank have the skills to undertake these operations.

Dr Guy Hidas, Director Pediatric Urology, Hadassah Hospital

Dr Mohammed Majed Rabee Skafi [left] receives his fellowship certificate from Professor Eitan Kerem, Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Hadassah.


The first two Palestinian fellowships sponsored by Project Rozana USA were awarded in March this year. Their purpose is to encourage Palestinian physicians to continue their training in a needed sub-specialty at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem and Tel Hashomer-Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv. Each fellowship is worth US$20,000. The recipients, Dr Mohammed Majed Rabee Skafi from Hebron, will be working in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Hadassah, and Dr Majed Dabur from Ramallah will be doing her residency in anaesthesiology at Sheba. The fellowships form a key element of Project Rozana’s mantra ‘train local, stay local’ and their training will help strengthen Palestinian healthcare capacity in the West Bank. It will also encourage professional associations with their Israeli colleagues.


Following the first successful year for the Binational School of Psychotherapy, the anticipated €500,000 grant from the EU hit a major obstacle because the entity applying for the funds was an Israeli and not a Palestinian NGO. We are anticipating that with the help of our Hebron-based partner, Green Land Society for Health Development, this issue will be overcome and a new submission made and granted.



We are in the second year of the three-year fundraising campaign to establish an ocular genetic research unit at St John Eye Hospital, East Jerusalem. The unit will train Palestinian opthalmologists to deal with the very high incidence of genetic eye disease within the Palestinian population.

Project Rozana agreed to raise AU$50,000 over three years. It raised 20% in 2017 and is committed to making a further significant contribution in 2018.


Volunteer driver, Yoel Hirsch – Kibbutz Afikim – Northern Israel with a patient and family members

You can join us in our Road to Recovery campaign


Road to Recovery in Israel currently handles 13,500 transfers of Palestinian patients per annum from Gaza and West Bank checkpoints. The transfers are managed from an active roster of 1,000 volunteers. The organisation is seeking US$100,000 per annum for its Israel operation over and above the modest sums that it raises from already identified sources. This is to grow the number of transfers by at least 20% per annum and to put in place the organisational and professional infrastructure to meet the growing demand. Australian, Canadian and American affiliates have agreed to raise a minimum of US$60,000 in 2018 via an innovative fundraising campaign, ’Adopt a Driver.’



A proposal has been approved by Project Rozana to train Palestinian health professionals in the provision of peritoneal dialysis. There is an epidemic of diabetes in the Palestinian Territories and peritoneal dialysis, which can be administered at home, would relieve pressure on existing hospital dialysis infrastructure. The project will be undertaken in conjunction with Assuta Hospital in Ashdod and the Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem and with the support of Baxter Corporation (USA) and Teva Pharmaceuticals (Israel).

Peritoneal dialysis treatment at home

Dr. Mushira Aboo Dia, Senior Obstetrician/Gynaecologist at Hadassah Hospital


An invitation has been extended to Dr Mushira Aboo Dia, Senior Obstetrician/Gynaecologist at Hadassah Hospital and Chair of Physicians for Human Rights, Israel.

Dr Aboo Dia will participate in a speaker’s tour of Sydney and Melbourne in late August 2018, and a highlight of her visit will be a fundraising dinner in Sydney hosted by David Gonski AC. Dr Mushira Aboo Dia will visit Melbourne from 17 – 21 August and Sydney from 21 – 24 August.


One of the key takeaways from the Directors’ Mission last November was the potential for engagement with the Israeli Palestinian community in the provision of much-needed psycho-social and cultural-religious support for Palestinian patients and caregivers staying in Israeli hospitals for extended periods.

We will be raising funds to support AAWA’s ‘Hope, Care and Good Deed’ project in the coming year.


Dr Mariam M’ari Ryan, founder of AAWA

Supporting patients in hospital


In the major hospitals visited by the Directors’ Mission, medical staff emphasised the importance of trained Arabic-speaking teams – patient navigators – to support the engagement between patients and hospital staff.

We have agreed to cover the salaries of a team of five Arabic-speaking health professionals at Sheba and five at Hadassah. Between them they treat about 75% of Palestinian patients annually in Israeli hospital. We will be actively fundraising to cover the costs of the patient navigators.






LEFT TO RIGHT: Dave Sharma – Sydney GP, Dr Jamal Rifi AM, Dr Mariam M’ari Ryan, Katherine Verrier-Frechette


Since the last annual review, Australia has welcomed to the Board former Australian Ambassador to Isarel, Dave Sharma and Sydney GP Dr Jamal Rifi AM.

In the last 12 months, PRUSA has welcomed Dr Mariam M’ari Ryan to its Board and the Canadians have welcomed Katherine Verrier-Frechehett to its Board.



The good news is that there has been excellent progress on the ground in Canada and the USA, with Project Rozana Canada securing full charitable status and PR-USA has applied for its own charitable status and is awaiting approval.

PRAus is currently preparing the background documentation for its charitable status application.



This has been our most exciting year to date and we want to thank you for being part of our journey.
We value your support and invite you to continue assisting us on this vitally important mission of building better understanding between Israelis and Palestinians through health.

All of our projects need funding – your donation will make a difference where it matters.

We look forward to partnering together in 2018-2019.


FOR MORE INFORMATION: Project Rozana Canada,
501 Roselawn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5N 1K2 Canada.
T: + 1 416 488 7991 E:

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Project Rozana Australia,
and International Head Office.
L1, 306 Hawthorn Road, Caulfield South, VIC Australia 3162
T: +613 1800 423 277 E:

c/o AMEINU 25 Broadway, New York, New York 10004 USA.
T: + 1 212 366 1194 E: