As the coronavirus continues to take a toll on Israeli society, its effects have been particularly devastating to the Israeli healthcare system, its hospitals, and its medical staff.
The Covid-19 global pandemic has overwhelmed medical systems and resources designed to operate within the bounds of normal societal needs. Hospitals do not have the ability or capacity to keep up with the ever growing needs without help – especially the demand for equipment.In response, The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) has created a $2 million aid package specifically to bolster hospitals in Israel’s healthcare system.
With the resources of U.S. Jewish organizations stretched to the limit to help people locally, The Fellowship is the largest international charity that is focused exclusively on helping Israel right now.
Hasharon Hospital at the Rabin Medical Center is one of 15 hospitals The Fellowship is helping. At the front lines of the fight against the virus, this hospital, with 241 beds and 1,400 staff, was recently designated by the Israeli government as one to specifically focus on treating patients with COVID-19. The hospital’s director, Dr. Eitan Haver, explained the rapid shift: “We have received 200 patients that have contracted the virus. Any regular patients that do not have the virus are redirected to other hospitals allowing us to exclusively focus on this.”
This shift has placed Hasharon on the forefront of caring for and curing COVID-19 patients, many of them elderly. Dr. Haver explained how his staff created “a procedure for treating patients, a combination of medicine and ventilators. The key equipment are ventilators for patients that have difficulty breathing.”
Moving to an exclusively Covid-19 focus could have caught Hasharon unprepared when it came to the ventilators needed for their specific treatment. But Rabin Medical Center was ready, in part, thanks to The Fellowship’s $2 million aid package -- which included ventilators.
“The more equipment we have, the more ability we have to help people,” Dr. Haver said. “To contain the virus and reduce the spread, we have built containment and isolation zones for our staff. The staff, when treating the patients, wear full protective gear to prevent infection and contain the virus at its source.”
Again, this necessary protective gear – including gowns, facemasks, aprons, and facial protection – has been made possible by The Fellowship’s fund and partnership with the Israeli government and Israel Defense Forces.
While we are currently in the midst of a crisis, Dr. Haver sees The Fellowship’s support as important to ending the crisis and treating the stricken.
“The Fellowship is giving us the tools to help patients and protect our staff,” Dr. Haver said. “This empowers us to treat those who are sick with the right tools.”
Building bridges between Christians and Jews, particularly when it comes to supporting Israel, was always part of the founding vision of The Fellowship, and times like this highlight the importance of it. Dr. Haver credits The Fellowship with building bridges – between the public, the government, The Fellowship, and The Fellowship’s supporters “to help the Jewish state combat the coronavirus pandemic, and save many, many lives.”