More than a thousand Israelis expressed their support for the eagerly anticipated new Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus rehabilitation center for wounded soldiers and terror survivors at a gala event sponsored by Hadassah International Israel at the David International Hotel in Tel Aviv.
In a campaign called “New Step in Big Rehab,” more than six million shekels were raised to build a new rehabilitation center and provide updated equipment. A pathway of footprints à la Hollywood’s Grauman’s Chinese Theater forecourt, which showcases the footprints and handprints of Hollywood superstars, is being created for sale to donors. Top military figures, including current Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot and former Chiefs of Staff Benny Gantz and Dan Halutz, have stepped barefoot in concrete tiles, together with soldiers and terror survivors who were treated at Hadassah.
A film (in Hebrew) which documents the process of creating the footprints was premiered at the event. Following the film, the soldiers and terror survivors came on stage to a boisterous and emotional standing ovation by the over one thousand attendees.
Gala Speakers included Erez Meltzer, Chair of the Hadassah Medical Organization Board of Directors; Dalia Itzik, Chair of the Hadassah International Board and former Speaker of Israel’s Knesset; and Yael Eckstein, Senior Vice President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, an organization that is a major Hadassah donor. In addition to the speakers, the evening included a musical tribute to the late Arik Einstein, one of Israel’s most popular musicians.
National Hadassah President Ellen Hershkin, past National President Marci Natan, National Secretary Roni Schwartz, HMO Board Member Dianne Gottlieb, and Hadassah Offices in Israel executives represented Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America (HWZOA), together with the Hadassah Office in Israel directors. “HWZOA is only second to the Rothschilds in donations to Israel,” related Mr. Meltzer.
Ms. Itzik, one of Israel’s most admired national leaders, noted in her address to the participants: “We were told we couldn’t fill this giant hall, but we have. Many people bought tables and offered the seats to soldiers. We are so proud to have them here, and we’re proud of Israelis who have come forward to support our soldiers, who deserve only the best.”
Although Hadassah Hospital’s current center features a much sought-after staff, many patients must wait for treatment because of lack of space and the need for additional equipment.
The rehabilitation campaign has brought together Israelis individuals and leaders from many walks of life–leaders from government, like former Defense Minister Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon and former head of the General Security Services Yaakov Perry; and business giants like Supermarket Mogul Rami Levy, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Fox Israel Harel Wizel, Chief Executive Officer of Africa-Israel Real Estate Avraham Novogrodsky, head of Keter Plastics North American Division Yossi Sagol, and Minrav Holdings Chair of the Board Avraham Kuznitsky. Many Hadassah Medical Organization physicians, nurses, and administrators also took part.