A group of about two dozen American volunteers helped out at Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot during a two week mission to Israel.
Jerome Baxley of Dothan, Alabama was among the volunteers who "cleaned walls, floors, bathrooms, supply shelves, bed pans, and hospital beds, and worked in the kitchen feeding hundreds of staff in the hospital." The businessman added "Rehovot is just north of the Gaza strip and Kaplan Medical Center is responsible for caring for more than a million of the people -- Jews and Palestinians alike -- who live in this region."Baxley is on the committee of the American Friends of Kaplan Medical Center and co-chairs the "Brick-By-Brick" campaign which hopes to build a new hi-tech cardiac center. "Kaplan has some of the best heart doctors and most up to date medical equipment in the world today," he explained, "but this is housed in run-down 1950s wooden buildings. Kaplan is in much need of a new hospital, but not just a normal hospital; because of the close proximity to Gaza, this hospital has to be built to withstand rocket attacks that are constant threats to the people in this region. I know because I’ve been there when rockets landed just a few miles away we could hear and feel the explosions," he said.
Retired couple William and Annette Sutter have been on multiple missions to the Jewish state and don't mind "menial but meaningful" tasks if it helps the cause. They noted some Israeli were wary of the volunteers and wondered about ulterior motives. But every year the found the Kaplan staff warmly anticipating the group.The trip was organized by Friends of Israel, a New Jersey-based group that publishes the Israel My Glory, a pro-Israel Christian magazine. The group, founded during the Holocaust, not only defends anti-Israel bias in the media but has countered some anti-Jewish sentiment as well with articles countering replacement theology.