Professor Zeev Rotstein, Director General of the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, was interviewed while in Mexico to strengthen ties with the Mexican Jewish Community, which has had a strong relationship with the Hadassah Medical Center for many years. There are currently 18 Mexican doctors specializing in orthopedics, general and plastic surgery, ophthalmology, orthopedics and pediatrics at the Hadassah hospitals.
Elena Bialostocky of the Jewish Link Mexico (ENLACE JUDÍO MÉXICO) had the opportunity to interview Professor Zeev Rotstein (in English) on Sept. 22, 2016.
Please see an English transcript of the interview below.
Transcript of the interview with Prof Zeev Rotstein, Director General of Hadassah Medical Center.
EJ: Is this your first visit to Mexico?
ZR: Yes, it is my first visit. This is a fascinating city, and the most amazing is the Jewish community that I met. Although the Jewish community in Mexico is only forty thousand people, they have welcomed me with a big hug and a big smile. I immediately felt as if they are my family even though it is my first visit and we have just met.
EJ: Can you say that there is progress in Hadassah Medical Center?
ZR: The Hadassah Medical Center is an icon, not only for medicine, but for all it represents for the State of Israel. Hadassah is in the heart of Israel, Jerusalem, and is renowned for providing care to anyone who comes to Hadassah, whether they are Jews, Israeli, or from outside the country, Palestinians or Christians, everyone is welcomed at the medical center. They all receive treatment that comes from the heart.
And it is not just regular treatment. Hadassah stands for exceptional medical education and extensive medical research that results in the development of innovative treatment, new technologies and new medications that benefit the whole world.
It is as we say in Hebrew “Mi Zion Tetze Tora” (From Israel shall go forth the Torah). So Zion, the heart of Israel is Jerusalem and Hadassah. Hadassah is fulfilling this vision. From Hadassah many medical innovations are propagating throughout the world, and helping so many people around the world.
EJ: How do you see Hadassah and its mission for the next hundred years?
ZR: Hadassah is celebrating nearly a hundred years of existence. I think an institution after so many years should rethink its vision and its mission. Renewing ourselves is exactly what is currently happening in Hadassah. This new vision includes being public, open, and embracing everyone. The most important thing is that Hadassah is a reflection of Israeli social treatment. We tell the public, come, we will treat you. There is no need for you to come with a full wallet; we will treat you free of charge. We are completely open, social and public.
We have also undertaken the task of piloting research for devastating diseases such as cancer and certain neurodegenerative brain diseases among others. Being the world leaders in the in the area of research and medical innovations is part of our mission. We work very hard to accomplish this.
EJ: I believe that Hadassah established the health infrastructure in Israel.
ZR: Hadassah was there even before the formation of the State of Israel. Henrietta Szold arrived in 1912 with a mission to help people of what was then Palestine under the Turks. Hadassah became the central medical institution of Israel.
But what I want is to emphasize the importance of Hadassah for Jews around the world. When you speak about Israel, you have to speak about Jerusalem, and when you speak about Jerusalem, you have to speak about Hadassah. We are building so much value for Israel and the world. This makes Hadassah a very unique institution.
EJ: Tell us about the Jewish Community of Mexico you have met during this Hadassah visit.
ZR: I entered the conference room at Hadassah, and met so many smiling faces around the table. All the heads of the different Mexican communities came to meet with me at Hadassah. We hugged, we smiled, and we immediately felt like we were family. Now, here in Mexico, we continue to feel that we are one big family. We care for each other, and help one another, and we are united in our love of Israel.”
EJ: Why do you think that Hadassah was nominated for the Nobel Prize?
ZR: There is a great competition to win the Nobel Prize. Many of the prizes go to individuals rather than institutions. If you ask me about my ideas and beliefs, Hadassah is worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize, because at Hadassah, peace between people is practiced daily. You can see in the corridors, different families, Israeli, non-Israeli, Palestinians, Muslims, Christians, and all live in peace within the walls of Hadassah. Hadassah has not received the Nobel Peace Prize, but I think it is deserving of the prize.
EJ: I know that at Hadassah all kinds of medical specialties are practiced. What do you think is the most important?
ZR: Hadassah is a Quaternary or Tertiary Care General Hospital. So when other hospitals in Israel have a patient whose treatment requires really complex care, they send the patient to Hadassah. We can say that Hadassah is capable of treating the most complicated cases in the country, cases that require not only professional treatment but exceptional know-how. This know-how comes because Hadassah is part of the Hebrew University Medical School, and we have extensive research labs. Our physicians are not only doctors, they are also researchers. They are immersed in understanding the mechanism of disease, and are able to apply this research and understanding to treating the patients that require the most complex treatment in Israel.
EJ: How many beds do you have in Hadassah?
ZR: Hadassah is a relatively large hospital, with two campuses (Ein Kerem and Mount Scopus). Today we have thirteen hundred beds. Our expectation for this year is to work with the Israeli Ministry of Health to add more than two hundred beds, so we will have a total of 1500 beds. Our campus at Ein Kerem has the new Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower among others, and we are planning a new Tower for Mount Scopus in the next two years.
EJ: Do you want to say something else to our readers?
ZR: I’m here as a representative of Hadassah. Hadassah has a big name worldwide and is considered a great institution.
We appreciate the collaborations we have around the world, and the donations and participation of our supporters around the world. This involvement helps Hadassah to become the great hospital that it is. We commit ourselves to continue building Hadassah so that it will remain the heart of Jerusalem; the heart of the world.
I want to thank everyone who is listening to me. I feel that we are one in our love of Hadassah.
To see a Spanish transcript of the interview, please go to http://www.enlacejudio.com/2016/09/27/el-centro-medico-hadassah-en-jerusalem-se-prepara-para-sus-proximos-100-anos/