Thursday, January 19, 2006

Doctors' in Israel

Welcome to the Muqata. Jameel has more important matters to tend to. (More important than blogging? Yes. Believe it or not.) I'm one of your hosts for today, Soccer Dad.

I don't believe that I can match the two previous entries, which were absolutely hilarious. One of them was so true; the other so false.

In one of those occurences that the internet has made possible, it turns that I know Jameel. Or at least met him once (I think). Thanks for giving me a chance to guest blog here.

Last week Israel Perspectives had a wonderful post about PM Sharon's Argentinian born doctors, "True Heroes". I've thought about doctors who have made Aliyah a lot. My sister-in-law is one. But then there are some who have been in the news.

Five years ago as Yasser Arafat's war against Israel was just getting started a 43 year old doctor named Shmuel Gillis was shot to death on his way home from the hospital one evening. Not much mention was made of him in the American media. The Washington Post simply called him a "settler."

But Shmuel Gillis was a true tzaddik (righteous person). He was a doctor; specifically he was a hematologist. His murder distressed his many patients: Arab and Jew alike. I heard from my brother (my sister-in-law worked with his brother - also a doctor) that Arabs called his house during Shiva to express their sadness over his killing.

Barbara Sofer in a wonderful piece, "Who will care for Jamila?" told of this phenomenon:

For 12 years, Dr. Gillis took care of Jamila, an Arab patient with a severe blood disease. Dr. Gillis helped keep her alive, helped her maintain a pregnancy and give birth.

"Who will take care of Jamila?" wondered one of his colleagues.


(The pregnancy and birth is important. Dr. Gillis believed that many instances of infertility were caused by diseases of the blood.)

And though Dr. Gillis lived in Karmei Tzur (an area that might well be "disengaged" from) he hardly fit the part of the wild eyed crazed settler (most don't). Isabel Kershner a cousin of Dr. Gillis's wife and writer for the Jerusalem Report recalled:
At the shivah, one of the family mentioned that Shmuel had resisted suggestions to plant a garden outside his house in Karmei Tzur. How could he waste water on a lawn, he had argued, when the Arab neighbors on the next hill sometimes went without?


After he was killed my brother suggested that I do a search and find out how many papers Dr. Gillis had written. I think I tried Google and found scores of papers on which he was one of the contributors.

There was also Dr. Amram Cohen who died in 2001 of a heart attack while on vacation in Africa. The irony of his death, is that Dr. Cohen, an oleh from Maryland, made his life's goal saving the hearts of children. He founded Save a Child's Heart an organization devoted to treating children with heart problems. (Guess which area has benefitted the most from Save a Child's Heart since its inception? Why the Palestinian Authority.)

In the past I've blogged about the cruel toll the war took on Israeli doctors.

This isn't meant to be a comprehensive list, just some more reasons to be proud of what Israeli doctors have accomplished.

UPDATE: And how could I forget? Mazel Tov to Bernie, er, Jameel, on his son's Bar Mitzvah!

My keyboard is in the West but my home page is in the East

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

All true.

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