The story of Rabin Medical Center is the grand story of Israel, of the sacrifices made by men and women daring to create a Jewish State where Jews could finally feel safe from 2000 years of anti-Semitism, Holocaust, and oppression. At every step of the way, the brave men and women of Israel gave their lives to defend the Promised Land. At every major historical juncture, Rabin Medical Center's staff has been there to heal and comfort Jews who flocked from all over the world to contribute to the survival of a fledgling state.
When the State of Israel was founded in 1948, Beilinson and HaSharon Hospitals (which eventually merged in 1996 to form Rabin Medical Center) were already operating under the British Mandate. So when Israelis, many of whom were Holocaust survivors, found themselves under attack by Arab countries, Rabin Medical Center was ready to receive the wounded and the sick.
Israel and the then three-story Beilinson Hospital received its first test during the War of Independence when surrounding Arab countries refused to accept Israel's independence.
In 1956, Beilinson Hospital had barely completed its new sevenstory building, when preparations began for the Sinai Campaign, a response to threats by Egypt to close the Suez Canal and the Tiran Straits. The lobby of the new building was turned into an ER.
In 1967, with the winds of war blowing, emergency preparations began, and wards were sealed off. The Six Day War was the first war that would include massive air attacks and bombings, and the possibility of chemical warfare. The late Yitzhak Rabin was then the Israeli Army Chief of Staff and his wife Leah, who many years later after his assassination would give his name to the hospital, came every night to visit the wounded and lift their spirits.
On Yom Kippur, in October 1973, as Israelis prayed in synagogues throughout the country on the holiest day of the Jewish year, Egypt and Syria attacked Israel and the bloodiest war Israel had ever experienced began. As a shocked nation stood by, Beilinson Hospital, with no time to prepare, began to treat the endless barrage of wounded who kept on coming. Ninety percent of the hospital's physicians were called to the front lines, and those who stayed in the hospital worked around the clock, under enormous pressure.
Almost ten years later, tension with Lebanon, which led to the first Lebanon War in 1982, resulted in constant bombardment and infiltration. A group of orthopedic surgeons from the hospital set up an orthopedic clinic in the town of Kiryat Shmona on the Northern border, and traveled there on weekends to treat the wounded.
The events of the 1990s, including Iraq's threats to attack Israel with chemical and biological weapons, raised the need for advanced trauma response. In 1998 a national Level One Trauma Center was established at Rabin Medical Center, one of only six in the entire country. The Trauma Unit is capable of treating large numbers of multi-injured patients-both adults and children.
A new type of warfare-terrorism and suicide bombings-gripped Israel at the turn of the 21st century. Fear overtook the country and Rabin Medical Center played an important role in healing the wounded and in comforting the grieving as a result of the Intifada.
The Second Lebanon War began in the summer of 2006 when three Israeli soldiers were kidnapped behind enemy lines and Katyusha rockets were fired continuously on innocent citizens in the North of Israel. Rabin Medical Center, only 40 minutes from Haifa, a city that endured heavy rocket fire, went on high alert. The hospital provided medical care to many soldiers and to numerous residents of the North who came to seek shelter in the center of Israel.
Rabin Medical Center's mandate goes beyond treating Israel's citizens. Their mission of "humanity without borders" extends to regional and international humanitarian needs. Rabin Medical Center was among the first facilities to provide help for radiation victims of the 1986 Chernobyl accident. Dozens of children were flown in from Russia for weeks and months of treatment at the Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology.
Throughout the country's history, through peaceful times and during the many wars, Rabin Medical Center has been and continues to be a leader in transplantation, cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery, neurology, neurosurgery, urology, gastroenterology, and liver diseases. Its Cancer Center, advanced Genetic Institute, Women's Hospital, and National Level One Trauma Center are world renowned.
Fewer than 20 such operations have been performed anywhere!
by JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH, Jerusalem Post
A special interfaith mission to Israel, of Jews and Christians from New Jersey and across the USA, was launched in November 2006 under the leadership of Mr. William Sutter, head of Friends of Israel and Alan Respler, head of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Southern New Jersey.