illustrative heart 311.
(photo credit: San Jose Mercury News/MCT)
The three Israeli cardiologists who lectured at a Dubai conference of the World
Heart Federation a few weeks ago said that they were “treated well” by the
United Arab Emirates authorities, even though over a dozen of their peers who
were expected to participate but not speak were not given a visa at the last
Prof. Sami Viskin, the director of cardiology at Tel Aviv
Sourasky Medical Center, said Sunday that the three cardiologists were allowed
to leave the hotel and even given VIP tours of the city by a “friendly
He added, however, that he objected to the fact that the other
Israelis who were invited by the federation were not told until the day before
their scheduled departure that the Dubai authorities had not given them a
Sourasky director-general Prof. Gabi Barbash, who also attended,
agreed that he and his two colleagues had been treated well by the Dubai
Last week, The Jerusalem Post
quoted Prof. Chaim Lotan, who
heads the Israel Heart Society and the cardiology department at Hadassah
University Medical Center, as saying that the three cardiologists who were there
were “confined to their hotel” and that “their passports were confiscated” while
they were there. Lotan did not attend the event because there was an Israeli
conference the same week, but he was involved in the arrangements for his
Yet Prof. Jacob Pe’er, the chief of ophthalmology at the
Hadassah University Medical Center said that in February, there was an
international congress in his field in February in which Israelis were “badly
Pe’er was one of the original organizers as a board member of
the International Council of Ophthalmology.
Israel and its flag were not
included anywhere. Five Israeli specialists were allowed to attend, but they
felt like “thieves.”
“They were limited in their movements and had guards
at all times,” Pe’er said.
He felt so uncomfortable about how Israelis
were handled before the conference convened that he canceled his trip and
resigned from the International Council of Ophthalmology board.
“I am not
willing to cooperate with discrimination against Israelis,” he stated.
“International medical and scientific conferences must be open to all; regional
ones as in Arab countries are entitled to invite whom they please.”