NEWSLETTER APRIL/MAY 2018
NO TIME TO REST ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY
At its heart, Road to Recovery is the story of two men.
The first is the founder, Yuval Roth. It was the death of his brother at the hands of Palestinian terrorists in 1993 that set in a motion a remarkable evolution from grieving relative to empowered advocate for reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.
The second is Naeem Al Bayda, an unassuming builder, farmer of olive trees and a proud and passionate advocate for the right of his fellow Palestinians to receive world-class healthcare enjoyed by their Israeli counterparts.
Between them, they represent an ideal espoused by many, but practised by too few in one of the most volatile regions of the world.Today, more than 1,000 volunteers offer to drive Palestinian patients and a family member or caregiver from the border of Gaza and the West Bank to hospitals in Israel. Almost all of the volunteers are Israeli Jews.
That’s been a source of concern for Yuval since he created Road to Recovery in 2006. He believes more Palestinians need to volunteer, but there was no effective mechanism inside the Palestinian Territories to achieve that.
But thanks to a donation from Project Rozana USA and the support of Hebron-based NGO, Green Land Society for Health Development (Green Land), Naeem was able to transition from a willing volunteer to a full-time employee.
The role of Green Land is seminal because without their involvement, it would have been very difficult for Naeem to fulfill his brief.
That brief is not only to liaise between Palestinian patients and volunteers who operate inside the Green Line, (a role Naeem had already been playing in a pro-bono capacity to great acclaim), but to encourage more Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza to volunteer their services.
This has huge ramifications for Palestinians because many are unable to afford the taxi fare from their homes to the border crossings, let alone from the crossings to Israeli hospitals.
Dr Akram Amro, Executive Director of Green Land, believes more volunteer drivers from the Palestinian Territories will encourage more Palestinians to use the free service and thereby receive medical attention in Israel.
While that outcome is constrained to some extent by the permit system, which involves a complex and often conflicted relationship between the Government of Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas in Gaza, it remains the best option for people needing expert medical care that isn’t always available in the West Bank or Gaza.
There is no doubt that Israel has a superior standard of healthcare to that which exists in the Palestinian Territories. Even so, there are highly-trained medical and therapeutic healthcare professionals in Palestinian hospitals, many of whom trained in Israel. But the imbalance is stark and it was the reason that Project Rozana was established in Australia in 2013.