Meet Hanna Nabwani

My name is Hanna Nabwani, I am 28 years old from the Druze Village of Julis, in the north of Israel, Near Acko, which has been home to generations of my family and where my parents, two brothers, sister and their families live. I am a medical student at the Joyce and Irving Goldman Medical School of Ben Gurion University, Beer Sheva and am currently conducting my internship at Meir Medical center. Upon graduation I will be the first female Druze graduate doctor nationwide.

I am married to Wasim, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Israeli defense forces. During his military service he studied in the University as part of a program to promote excellent officers in the IDF and graduated last year with a degree of L.L.B in law and a B.A. in business management. We are the proud parents of a one and a half year old baby boy - Amir.

My father's Salih is a retired policemen and my mother, Amiree, a religious woman and a strong influence in my life, encouraged me, her youngest child, to always follow my dreams and study medicine even if no other Druze woman in our area had ever done so before. She has suffered because of me-she has been banned from attending religious services because I have caused some kind of dishonor to the family by living far-away in Beer-Sheva in order to study. Even though she has paid a high price for my independence, she supports my studies because she realizes that it will eventually benefit the women in our Druze community. I am really happy and proud to serve as a role model for other Druze women in my village.

My two brothers are officers in the IDF and one of them was one of the first Druze to be accepted into the Israeli Air force, the other recently received the award of excellence from the Chief of General for his service.

My brothers, sister and I were raised under the shadow of my uncle's early death in the 1960's, who was killed in action during his military service. He was the first Arabic speaking Druze to be accepted at that time to the Technion in Haifa. I clearly remember visiting the military cemetery every year to honor the uncle that I've never knew. Unfortunately two years ago we suffered another loss of a young soldier of my family, Tamir Nabwani, who was the first Druze soldier in a commando unit in the IDF. The Druze living in Israel have a blood-pact of loyalty with Israel, which is why the Druze people serve the country with pride.

Currently I am doing my Internship in medicine at Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba and will complete this internship in May 2010 and I look forward to do my residency at The Helen Schneider Women's Hospital - Rabin Medical Center. Due to my internship we are living currently in Kfar Saba, and on the weekends we go north to our village, Julis. We plan to return to live in Julis and I want to practice medicine in the community clinic, where I hope to eventually be a gynecologist. My knowing Arabic has been an advantage during my work with Arab patients in the hospital as I am able to communicate with them easily while helping the doctors to give the best, fastest and most accurate treatment.

The Druze community suffers from a lack of doctors in general and female doctors in particular. I am the first Druze women doctor from my village which accounts for almost 7, 000 people. There are less than 10 women Druze doctors in our country, and only one of them is a gynecologist. The Druze society lives according to strict religious beliefs, and the Druze women endure a lot of limitations in their daily living activity, in particular regarding men to women interactions, especially being examined by a male gynecologist and most Druze women would rather suffer and wait a long time in order to see a female gynecologist.

I have always dreamed to specialize in obstetrics and gynecology, both because I love this field and I realize the necessity of female Druze gynecologists. I know that by fulfilling my dream I will be able to greatly contribute to my community and I definitely see this as mission to serve my community, to promote health status of the Druze women and to help them deal with different issues relating to daily living. As a woman who was raised according to the Druze traditional and religious believes, those which admire and I have always looked toward improving the status of women in our society I feel that I have gained the opportunity to do so, and the best way for me is by becoming a Druze gynecologist.

Thank you for your time,
Hanna Nabwani

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