Emergency Grants Approved to Support Medical Needs in Israel

The Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) approved $150,000 in funding to support the emergency healthcare needs of Israel's citizens in light of the horrific terrorist attacks by Hamas that took place on October 7 and the continued violence in the Israel-Hamas War. Thanks to many years of collaboration in Israel, JHF was able to move quickly to get funding to two organizations that responded immediately to the medical needs of residents in Israel.

JHF provided $100,000 to the Israel Healthcare Foundation and Clalit Health Services. JHF has a long-time partnership with both the Israel Health Care Foundation and Clalit, which provides health care for more than half of Israel's population, including many who are older, economically disadvantaged, and who live farther from the center of the country. Emergency funds of $50,000 were also provided to American Friends of Magen David Adom, a nonprofit organization supporting Israel's paramedic and Red Cross service.

Both organizations' work has been magnified in importance during this time, as they treat the many thousands of Israelis who have suffered physically and mentally as a result of the needless and unprecedented attacks. Clalit and American Friends of Magen David Adom are both centers of excellence, and the funding builds on 14 years of partnership efforts between these organizations and JHF to provide for the needs of their patients and families.

Israeli Healthcare Foundation Senior Resource Advisor Perry Davis, PhD reported that as of October 26, 20 days into the war, there have been 5,400 wounded Israelis with countless more suffering mental health challenges from the ongoing rocket attacks and the hostage situation.

"In light of the current war with Hamas and Hezbollah, Israel's healthcare system is experiencing an unprecedented strain on its human and material resources. The civilian casualties are overwhelming. The number of military casualties in the hostilities ahead of us are still unknown. These wounded soldiers add to the critical challenge Clalit's 14 hospitals and 1,400 clinics will face in the weeks ahead and for the foreseeable future," Dr. Davis said. "That is why the very quick emergency grant made by the Jewish Healthcare Foundation was and is so heartening."

The funds from JHF were directed to Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheva – the epicenter of the war. On the day of the attacks, Soroka had to treat 680 civilians – many with gunshot wounds needing surgery. That was twice the size of the most pessimistic mass casualty drill ever held. With a continuing influx of patients, Soroka was forced to empty in-patient wards and transform them into surgical theaters.

"Your generous grant is being used to replenish supplies and provide life-saving surgical equipment," Dr. Davis said. "The Clalit Healthcare Network and the Israel Healthcare Foundation are grateful beyond words."

JHF has a long commitment to learning from and with Israel, with nine visits occurring between 2009 and 2013 where Israeli and American professionals shared best practices and collaborated around the challenge of advancing safe, high quality and efficient care. Those visits served to inform the U.S. healthcare reform debate, brought important Israeli innovations to the U.S. and vice versa. For JHF, it led to a large grant to develop primary care resource centers in six hospitals in the Pittsburgh region. For Israel, we introduced both a method and aspirations for better infection control. Working with Clalit, JHF produced papers on the value of a single payer system, being asked numerous times to present our work at large global health conferences, covering topics such as introducing behavioral health to primary care, infection control, and women's health.

This collaboration has continued, most recently with JHF granting the Israel Healthcare Foundation support in 2022 to train 65 experienced nurses to become nurse practitioners to be certified in geriatric pain management treatment and end of life care. Above all, we have made lasting friendships and professional networks. 

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