NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 2020

EDITORIAL COMMENT

Ron Finkel AM, Chair, Project Rozana Australia & International

There is a new ‘sheriff’ in town. With Joe Biden due to take over the US presidency on January 20, 2021 there is every indication that the restrictive policies of President Donald Trump will be eased or removed. In particular, policies that relate to the funding of health services for the Palestinians.

How do we know this? Essentially, in two ways. The first is from the people who are likely to be tasked with delivering on the promises made during the presidential campaign. The second is from the US Congress, which has been working diligently on a number of initiatives that were in contrast to the decisions of the Trump Administration.

Although nothing is set in concrete, given that many of the appointments signalled by the Office of the President-elect must be endorsed by Congress, we are confident that the people likely to lead the Biden initiatives will survive the process.

In particular I refer to Tony Blinken, the incoming Secretary of State.

In a recent interview, Secretary-elect Blinken said the new administration would restore aid for Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority. The renewed funding will include funding for the East Jerusalem Health Network (EJHN) that was cancelled by Trump in 2018.

This was also noted by Vice-President-elect, Kamala Harris. During the presidential campaign Ms Harris said,

“We will take immediate steps to restore economic and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people (and) address the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.”

I wrote at the time that refusing to honour $25 million earmarked for the six hospitals not only put lives at risk, but caused untold harm to a medical establishment that was financially and administratively independent of the Palestinian Authority.

It also placed an added burden on the Israeli health system which has long been assisting the Palestinian health system to build its own capacity. This is both altruistic and practical – ensuring that the well-regarded EJHN can accommodate Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza also relieves over-stretched Israeli hospitals of patient loads.

In July of this year, an initiative presented to Congress set the stage for meaningful funding of the Palestinian health system. The Middle East Partnership for Peace Act will provide $250 million over five years for cross border Israel-Palestine programs, of which $110 million will be allocated to ‘people to people’ initiatives. This is the space that Project Rozana is active.

It is waiting on bipartisan approval in the Senate, which could happen in a matter of weeks if the annual budget is approved in the so-called ‘lame-duck’ session of Congress (the period between the election and confirmation of the new Administration).

I want to particularly note the pivotal lobbying effort of the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP) and its Washington DC-based Director, Kevin Rachlin. Kevin worked tirelessly with Senators, House Representatives and their staff on this formidable and critically-needed funding initiative.

The Biden-Harris team is also set to make significant and positive changes to the health status of Palestinians through USAID. This is one of the world’s largest development agencies. Project Rozana USA had a $1.2million project proposal ready to submit to USAID before cross-border programs between Israel and the West Bank that were part of its Office of Conflict Mitigation and Management were stopped by the Trump Administration.

The importance of fully-functioning health services in the West Bank cannot be over-estimated, especially during a global pandemic when so many lives have been compromised and lost.

Health is a cornerstone of society, never more so than now.

 

 

Ron Finkel 

 

 

 

PROJECT ROZANA GLOBAL CAMPAIGN AN OUTSTANDING SUCCESS

Earlier this year, the Palestinian health system was at risk of being overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. By April, it became apparent just how dire the situation was becoming.

Its leadership reached out to Project Rozana with a request for desperately-needed ICU and non-ICU ventilators. The survival of affected patients depended on having this equipment in the major hospitals.

The problem was accessing the equipment when demand was outstripping supply. The Palestinians were also cash poor, and better resourced communities were able to flip suppliers as demand grew. Even with all the goodwill in the world, market economics dominated.

After receiving a call from the Palestinian Foreign Minister, Dr Riad Malki, we understood that the challenge presented by the minister was at the heart of what Project Rozana stands for.

We ran a two-track strategy. While scouring the world for ICU and non-ICU ventilators to ship to Palestinian hospitals, we were seeking donations to pay for equipment that was very difficult to secure as available stocks were already being bought by the highest bidders.

We reached 100% of our US$400,000 crowdfunding campaign target in record time.

We are now working closely with a number of governments to secure additional funding.

Today, with the benefit of hindsight, we achieved the near-impossible. And the Palestinian health system is the better for it.

That story is now the subject of a COVID-19 Campaign Report. We urge you to download and read it.

At the same time, we were overjoyed by an acknowledgement that was made in a Covid-19 Impact Report prepared by the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP). ALLMEP is a coalition of more than 100 Israeli and Palestinian organisations promoting people-to-people peace building in the region.

The report answers a fundamental question: How impactful has Project Rozana been to the Palestinian people through its work leading up to and during the initial phase of the pandemic?

The lives of vulnerable Palestinians have been saved because of our remarkable donor community. As we grow, so too does our standing with the participating governments.

We are also on the radar of many influential organisations around the world who noted the speed with which we were able to respond to this unprecedented health crisis.

NEW FACE FOR INTERNATIONAL ADVISORY COUNCIL

Israel’s former Ambassador to Australia, Mark Sofer, has accepted an invitation to join Project Rozana’s International Advisory Council.

Mr Sofer will sit alongside Tim Costello AO from Australia, Prof Saleem Haj-Yahia of Palestine and Martin Indyk of the United States.

Mr Sofer was a career diplomat with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After completing his posting in Australia in 2020, he returned to Israel and announced his retirement from diplomatic service.

He received his BA in Economics and International Relations from the London School of Economics, after which he completed an MA in Political Science at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He then joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Among his postings in a distinguished career with the Ministry was Peru, Norway, and New York. Followed by appointment as Ambassador to Ireland, and later as Ambassador to the Republic of India and concurrently, the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. He was also a Policy Advisor to then-Foreign Minister of Israel Shimon Peres, and also headed the prestigious non-profit foundation, the Jerusalem Foundation.

Before his posting to Australia in 2017, Mark served as Deputy Director General of the Foreign Ministry and Head of the Asia and Pacific Division.

He is married to Sarah and has three adult daughters.

THE GAZA DILEMMA

Gaza has long been the bête noire of Israel, the intransigent arm of the wider Palestinian movement.

Regularly at war with Israel and in conflict with the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA), its interest in engaging with Israel ebbs and flows as its needs require.

COVID-19 may have changed that. And Project Rozana may yet emerge as an agent of change.

In late August, following the successful delivery of ventilators to West Bank hospitals in the previous months, we received an urgent request from Lieutenant General Nasr Yusuf, Chairman of the Fatah Advisory Council and the former head of the Public Security Forces in Gaza.

The subject of his letter was, ‘The catastrophic health situation in the Gaza Strip’. After acknowledging our “exceptional humanitarian support” to the Palestinian people, he set out in unambiguous terms what Gaza needed for its citizens.

Ron Finkel AM, Chair of Project Rozana International said,

“It wasn’t only the worrying spread of COVID-19 through the community that prompted his outreach, but the real possibility that Gaza’s medical services would be overwhelmed.”

Barely three months later that possibility has morphed into reality. Today, the number of infections and deaths has skyrocketed, to the point that Gaza’s health system can no longer cope.

Fears that Gaza would potentially become a ‘killing field’ with coronavirus infections and deaths sweeping through its population of nearly two million people are close to being realised. This was confirmed by Dr. Ahmad al-Jadba, an official at Shifa hospital in Gaza City. He declared that, “The virus is spreading and the situation is getting out of control.”

Even worse is the possibility that hospitals will have to decide who lives and who dies.

Mahmud Al-Khazindar, director of a private hospital in Gaza, said the increasing number of cases meant Gaza was at a tipping point, with the number of available intensive care beds, medicines and ventilators falling short of demand. He warned,

“If the number of cases increases, a choice will have to be made between the care of the elderly, the young and patients with another disease.”

In light of the current reality, General Yusuf’s heartfelt request for ventilators, testing materials and medical laboratories cannot be overestimated.

He ended his letter by acknowledging an uncomfortable truth,

“In the current absence of the coordination between the Palestinian Authority* and the Israelis in all fields, including the health field, we hope that these urgent aids will be delivered directly to the Gaza Strip, through the World Health Organization.”

Project Rozana is one NGO in a field of many, most having been around longer than us.

Mr Finkel said,

“Our mission has been clearly articulated since we began in 2013. This is encapsulated in our guiding statement, ‘To build bridges to better understanding between Israelis and Palestinians through health.

 

We come to this space without affiliation to any political, religious or humanitarian agency. We are transparent and therefore I believe we are trusted. We deliver what we promise and only what we can.”

He says that in order to succeed, Project Rozana had to earn the trust of many governments, including Israel, Palestine and Australia, which has been an exceptional partner by helping to secure ICU ventilators and allied equipment that has been shipped to the Palestinians.

Project Rozana also had to prove itself to organisations like the World Health Organization and the European Union, which recently awarded Project Rozana its largest-ever sovereign funding package to support our Binational School of Psychotherapy in Jerusalem.

We believe that a better world is not on the right or the left, is neither religious nor agnostic, is not gender biased nor is it monied. An ideal world is predicated on caring, on seeing a problem through the human experience without precondition.

Mr Finkel says,

“It will be our privilege to provide the support that General Yusuf so eloquently requested.  We know that the health sector in Israel fully endorses our work. This is a sector that has for many years been working quietly, efficiently and effectively with organisations in Gaza for the health and welfare of the people there.”

We now have a seat at the table of responsible, international humanitarian organisations committed to making a difference to the lives Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

*While Hamas is the de facto ruler of the Gaza Strip after ousting the PA during a civil war in 2007, the PA is still the coordinating authority with Israel on issues such as health.

 

Flag waving photo by Ahmed Abu Hameeda, on Unsplash.

STUDY ON WOMEN’S PRIMARY HEALTHCARE COMPLETED

A Project Rozana-commissioned feasibility study on the delivery of primary healthcare and sexual and reproductive health services to women living in remote villages of the West Bank has just been completed.

Funded through Project Rozana USA, the study was authored by the Toronto-based Canada International Scientific Exchange Program (CISEPO) with the Hebron-based Green Land Society for Health Development (GLSHD). The original completion date was abandoned because of the impact of COVID-19.

The study includes input from Israeli and Palestinian health sector partners and relevant international governmental organizations, including the WHO, UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), and local community and women’s organizations.

The multi-year, multi-million dollar study provides a preliminary assessment of local requirements and considerations related to the development of a program for Area C (see map below) of the West Bank.

As part of the Oslo Accords that were signed between Israel and the Palestinians in the mid-1990s, the West Bank was divided into three Areas – A, B & C. The Palestinian Authority which was created as part of the Oslo Accords, is responsible for medical services to Palestinians in Area C, which is about 61% of the West Bank.

CISEPO’s analysis lays out a Peacebuilding through Health roadmap for improving women’s health in the West Bank. The roadmap responds and contributes to the Palestinian State of Emergency COVID-19 Response Plan. It is designed to support cooperative regional efforts to improve women’s health delivery during and post COVID-19.

To do so, it employs community mobilizers providing health services to their communities, who then connect local patients with nearby hospital partners. They do this via integrated digital solutions that include telehealth, hospital-based electronic medical records and mobile point of care diagnostics. Thus they ensure seamless care delivery.

In addition to improving women’s access to critical healthcare, the capacity building components of this approach will elevate women’s standing in their families and communities by providing skilled employment. Sustainably strengthening the health workforce to match WHO standards for care provision. It will also empower women in these communities as they will be able to access reproductive and primary care in situ.

Should it be implemented, it will be a unique and sustainable cross-border healthcare and health education to strengthen the Palestinian healthcare system and create conditions for peace. And this approach will also foster peacebuilding in the region by enabling cross-border knowledge transfer and relationships between Palestinians and Israelis.

CISEPO’s analysis lays out a Peacebuilding through Health roadmap for improving women’s health in the West Bank. The roadmap responds and contributes to the Palestinian State of Emergency COVID-19 Response Plan. It is designed to support cooperative regional efforts to improve women’s health delivery during and post COVID-19.

To do so, it employs community mobilizers providing health services to their communities, who then connect local patients with nearby hospital partners. They do this via integrated digital solutions that include telehealth, hospital-based electronic medical records and mobile point of care diagnostics. Thus they ensure seamless care delivery.

In addition to improving women’s access to critical healthcare, the capacity building components of this approach will elevate women’s standing in their families and communities by providing skilled employment. Sustainably strengthening the health workforce to match WHO standards for care provision. It will also empower women in these communities as they will be able to access reproductive and primary care in situ.

Should it be implemented, it will be a unique and sustainable cross-border healthcare and health education to strengthen the Palestinian healthcare system and create conditions for peace. And this approach will also foster peacebuilding in the region by enabling cross-border knowledge transfer and relationships between Palestinians and Israelis.

AN INTERNATIONAL FORCE FOR GOOD

Dr Raed Mansour with Palestinian Foreign Minister Dr Riad Malki

Based in Israel, Dr Mansour played a pivotal role in the transfer of critically-needed ventilators and associated equipment to Ramallah. He is held in high regard by both communities, by representing the values that have made Project Rozana a force for good in the Middle East.

Described as an honest broker and a man of integrity, Dr Raed Mansour has accepted the position of Regional Director for Project Rozana International.

Fluent in Arabic, Hebrew and English, Dr Mansour graduated in medicine from the Haifa Technion. He has also built a successful career in business, with a particular focus on social welfare and medical support.

Dr Mansour is well-known among the political and bureaucratic elite in Israel and Palestine. It was these relationships which were significant in the smooth delivery of the ventilators, at a time when the Palestinian health system was coming under increased pressure.

Ron Finkel AM, Chair of Project Rozana International, said two key milestones contributed to the need for a regional director,

“As a result of the ventilator project, our relationship with the Palestinian Authority has grown significantly. It has positioned us in a way that allows us to deliver our suite of services in the most effective and time-efficient way possible. But it requires close management which we are sure Raed Mansour can provide.

 

With the impending introduction of the UK into the Project Rozana family, we need someone who knows the landscape and has the ear of the key players. Again, Raed is that person and up for the task.”

Mr Finkel said that Dr Mansour will engage with the UAE, Jordan, Bahrain and Egypt, which are regarded as fertile ground for the development of Project Rozana’s mission throughout the Middle East.

PROJECT ROZANA ISRAEL ON THE MOVE

Leading Israeli businessman, composer and consultant, Doron Levinson, has taken over as Chair of Project Rozana Israel. Doron was previously an active member of the Board.

He replaces Ronit Zimmer who has moved to the newly-created position of Executive Director, Project Rozana Israel.

As a former soldier in the Israel Defense Forces he understands the value of peace and the need for reconciliation. After his release from active duty, Doron studied law at Tel Aviv University and practised at the law firm of Haim Zadok (a former Israeli Minister of Justice). He continued his studies at the University of Michigan and completed his PhD at Toronto University.

In 1992, after the death of his father, he returned to Israel to manage Levinson Brothers Engineers Ltd., a family-owned business (established by his grandfather in 1930). The business has been involved in international trade and investments. In 2000, he received the IUPA Award from the President of Israel for his promotion of Israeli music and culture and for his assistance to Israeli artists.

In recent years Doron has dedicated his life to the pursuit of peace in the region. As chairman of the Agricultural Division at the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, he was a member of the negotiation team with the Palestinians on Trade and Commerce. Among other things, he established the ‘Together as One Foundation’, for the purpose of encouraging social and cultural cooperation between Arab and Jewish youngsters.

Ron Finkel AM, Chair of Project Rozana International, paid tribute to Ronit Zimmer who was the founding Chair of Project Rozana Israel,

“We’re thrilled that Ronit has agreed to become the Executive Director and to support Doron as the organisation transitions to a new phase. Nowhere in our orbit is the impact of COVID-19 felt more keenly than in Israel and throughout the Palestinian Territories. More than ever, we need a proactive group in this region and now we have that.”

IN THE NEWS

BUILDING THE FOUNDATIONS OF PEACE

Project Rozana is a broad church. It attracts people from across the globe who support efforts to build the Palestinian healthcare system with Israeli expertise.

South African-born freelance journalist and broadcaster, Rolene Marks, has crafted a fascinating insight into the work of Project Rozana. Her revealing piece explains why the organisation has attracted growing interest since its birth in 2013.

It also underscores why health is the one area of civil society where the two communities meet on a daily basis and in mutual respect.

This is an article from Lay of the Land.

It is often said that the foundations of peace will be built by people from the countries where there is conflict who courageously defy divisions and interact and cooperate with each other. While government officials and representatives discuss, argue and negotiate, it is groups of people from both sides of the divide who will build the foundations of peace.

This is hardly a scenario that is anticipated when we speak about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. The media (and other interest groups) would rather have you believe that we are two peoples perpetually at each other’s throats and while there definitely is conflict, there are also a myriad of incredible projects that are being done at grassroots levels to encourage dialogue and cooperation.

In these uncertain times, when health and wellbeing is our collective focus, it is extremely critical that those who are particularly vulnerable receive the care that they need. Project Rozana is one such extraordinary organization, fulfilling those needs. Named in honour of a very special little Palestinian girl called Rozana Salawhi, who needed critical medical care, and whose mother sought to find it regardless of race, religion or political divides, Project Rozana endeavours to build bridges of cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians by using Israeli excellence and ingenuity in healthcare to treat Palestinians. It is an area of civil society that is proving that Palestinians and Israelis can cooperate on a major scale and interact on a daily basis. This is a relationship that is being built on the basis of equality and mutual respect. The intention of Project Rozana is to help Palestinian medical professionals skill up so that they can build a strong medical infrastructure and provide the best possible care for their communities.

This bridge-building project has attracted the interest of the international community, led by Hadassah Australia and has been embraced by affiliates in the United States, Canada, Israel and across the Palestinian Territories.

Building Bridges. Project Rozana is committed to building bridges between Israelis and Palestinians through the field of healthcare.

Project Rozana runs a variety of programmes to ensure that the vast skill gaps are filled. Palestinian doctors, nurses, therapist and others, receive the best training possible to meet those needs that have been identified in consultation with the Palestinian Advisory Board. The Medical Fellowship Programme funds young clinicians from Palestinian hospitals to train in Israel under highly qualified and experienced Israeli medical specialists. This provides them with the opportunity to train in a much needed sub-specialty including paediatric rehabilitation and peritoneal dialysis (very important because of rising diabetes in the territories) and bring their skills and knowledge back to hospitals in the West Bank and Gaza.

Previous fellows completed their two-year residencies in Paediatric Intensive Care at Hadassah Hospital, Jerusalem, and in Anaesthesiology at Sheba Hospital in Tel Aviv.

West Bank coordinator of transportation for Project Rozana Naeem al-Bayda (right) with a Palestinian youngster he brought to an Israeli hospital.

Project Rozana also provides funding for critically ill Palestinian children to be treated in Israeli hospitals. This is particularly important when the specific treatment needed is not available or very limited. Children who need it, have also received surgery to deal with DSD – gender dysphoria. This is one of the most medically and socially complex of genetic disorders in the Palestinian population (and Israel’s ultra-orthodox Jewish population) and presents with ambiguous genitalia.

A baby from Gaza with congenital heart disease being treated at Sheba Hospital.

Children with DSD are subject to gender dysphoria – a condition the dissatisfaction and anxiety they experience due to their body not reflecting their gender, leads to severe psychological distress, anxiety, and depression. Parents too, are subject to stress. Children with DSD receive corrective surgery, made possible by the partnership between Project Rozana and Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Mobile health clinics for women are also an area of major consideration.

Critical under Corona

The Coronavirus global pandemic has also impacted greatly on the medical situation for Palestinians. Project Rozana has been instrumental in helping to get much needed equipment and training to navigate the crisis. Through Project Rozana, Palestinian medical professionals have received essential, up-to-date training from Israeli experts. The Australian government in cooperation with Palestinian Foreign Minister, Riyad Al-Maliki and Project Rozana, facilitated the delivery of 20 ventilators to be distributed across hospitals in the territories.

Project Rozana Helps Save Palestinian Baby’s Life. Musab Alafandi stands over his son’s crib, checking on his breathing at Hadassah’s Hospital.

At the time of writing this article, Palestinian Chief Negotiator, Saeb Erekat*, who is critically ill with Covid-19, is receiving the best possible care in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem and is on a ventilator and ECMO machine. As complicated and difficult the situation between Israel and the Palestinians is politically, medicine forms a vital role in helping to build bridges of peace.

Stars for Salvation. Israeli stars David Broza, Achinoam Nini, Mira Awad, ‘Hamilton’ stars and other musical celebs join Jewish-Arab youth chorus promoting a healthier future.

Peace between Israelis and Palestinians might not be instantly solved through goodwill gestures like providing top level care for a dignitary like Erekat, but the bridges built by Project Rozana that facilitates and encourages daily cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians, may be the strong foundations between people that will help make it an inevitability.

*Saeb Erekat passed away 10 November, as a result of complications from COVID-19.

UNITY EMPOWERS THREE ABRAHAMIC FAITHS

Uniquely Muslims, Jews and Christians in Greater Washington recently got together to save Palestinian lives.

The inspiration came from Project Rozana USA.

Here is the fascinating  article…

For the first time ever, Muslims, Jews and Christians in Greater Washington are uniting around a mission of saving Palestinian lives and supporting Israelis and Palestinians who are committed to working together for the benefit of all.

Since the beginning of June, our congregations, the All-Dulles Area Muslim Society, Temple Rodef Shalom and St. John’s Norwood Episcopal Church — as well as other important congregations and Interfaith organizations — have joined together in an ad-hoc Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance for Ventilators for the Palestinians. As of this writing, we have raised more than $37,000 to provide top-of-the-line ventilators and ancillary equipment to ICUs in hospitals across the West Bank and Gaza. The campaign ran until the end of August.

We are undertaking this effort as an interfaith component of a global Palestinian Emergency Ventilator Appeal undertaken by Project Rozana, an international NGO working to strengthen ties between Israelis and Palestinians through health care. Project Rozana initiated the campaign in response to an appeal for help in securing an adequate supply of ventilators by Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki of the Palestinian Authority. Also involved is Rambam Hospital in Haifa, Israel, which will train medical personnel at the Palestinian hospitals in use of the equipment.

Our groups have united in support of this initiative at a time when relations between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority are in a perilous state. Negotiations between the two sides have been stalled for years, and until very recently, Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank seemed likely – though it may be on hold for now. Yet we know that whatever happens politically, Israelis and Palestinians are fated to share in perpetuity a common land the size of Maryland that is sacred to all our faiths. We are therefore committed to helping make Israeli-Palestinian coexistence cooperative and mutually beneficial.

First and foremost, we have formed this alliance in order to save precious Palestinian lives. By helping to accomplish that, we are living out together the precepts so memorably articulated in the Bible, Talmud and Quran that we must love our neighbor as ourselves and if we save one life, it is as though we saved the whole of humankind. Yet let us remember that this effort is also about saving Israeli lives. COVID-19 has vividly demonstrated that the two peoples cannot seal themselves off from each other; that a spike in the virus on one side of the separation wall endangers the health of people on the other side. Only by working in concert can Israelis and Palestinians contain the coronavirus. The government of Israel has endorsed this effort by Project Rozana.

In addition, we are inspired that Project Rozana and allied NGOs have created a vibrant network linking thousands of Palestinians and Israelis who work together every day to improve the quality of life for both peoples. In the process, they come to know each other as individuals and build ties of friendship and trust. We are determined to help sustain and multiply these human encounters.

The same logic applies here in America, where this initiative brings us together in an uplifting common cause. While the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has often been a source of division and discord for those working to strengthen interfaith ties in the U.S., lately we have realized that working to mitigate it can actually bring us closer together. Even if we do not agree on all aspects of a political solution to the conflict, we can come together to improve conditions on the ground and enhance communication and cooperation. Taking part in this endeavor allows us the opportunity to accomplish all of that in Israel and Palestine; and gives us momentum to make a positive impact going forward. The inspiring commonality of purpose we have achieved also serves to strengthen our communication and interactivity on this side of the ocean.

As members of the Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance for Ventilators for the Palestinians, we stand united in the goal of helping Israelis and Palestinians build a happier future in which the well-being and human rights of both peoples are nurtured and protected. We are in this effort for the long haul.

Rizwan Jaka is chairperson of the Board of Trustees at the All-Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS Center) in Sterling, VA; The Reverend Anne E. Derse is Deacon of St. John’s Norwood Episcopal Church in Bethesda, MD and Jeffrey Saxe is a Rabbi serving Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, VA.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the authors’ own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

PODCAST: THE BRANCH – THE ROAD TO HEALINGS

The Branch offers a glimpse into the everyday lives of Jews and Arabs in Israel forging meaningful relationships.

In Season 2, Episode 6, host Dina Kraft takes us into the lives of Mohammed and Yael. For three years, Yael has been driving Mohammed and his son, Dia – who live in Hebron – to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem for the five-year-old’s cancer treatments. Over many rides, arranged by Humans without Borders, the two have formed a “very human connection.”

Hear the episode now. It is from hadassah.org

Go behind-the-scenes with host, Dina Kraft. Pics below or see the Flickr photos from Season 2 Episode 6!

PLEASE HELP OUR WORK

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PROJECT ROZANA

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PROJECT ROZANA

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