Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

A visit to two Israeli hospitals


We often have a hard time understanding the terror attacks on Israel and what they mean. I don’t know if this 2002 Larry Miller article from the Weekly Standard makes the current war any clearer, but it does put a human face on the war and the threat Israel faces. The article is one of my favorites, and here’s an excerpt:

As I said, I went to two places to meet the terror victims. One was in Tel Aviv. I met an emergency room doctor, a woman, whose husband was killed a year ago in a bombing. She has two children. Had. Now she has one. She was on duty, weeks ago, in the middle of the night (Don’t they call that the graveyard shift?), the night a disco was bombed. Maybe you heard about it. The victims were brought to her hospital. To her. Her daughter was one of them. Now the mother is a patient. “It was good of you to let her tell you her story,” the head of the place told me. “It’s therapeutic.” Good of me? What do you say to that? “I’m glad I could help so much. Gotta go now. Soon I’ll be back in the hotel room.”

Then we went to Hadassah Hospital, in Jerusalem. This is the hospital where they brought the victims of the bombing at Hebrew University. I met a woman who had been having lunch that day, in the Frank Sinatra Commissary (really) with her daughter, a student. An “A” student, the mother told me. It wasn’t possible for the daughter to tell me, since they were still trying to put her back together. At this writing she’s still alive, thank God. Just. An “A” student, the mother kept saying. She was the lucky one, whatever that means. Hey, what’s that on the table? Oh, it’s a cup with the nails they took out of me. Some are still inside. They can’t take them out yet. Oh. Okay. Gotta go. Wait, go in there, here’s someone else, the brother of someone else, the fiancee of someone else, the father of someone else. Thank you for letting them tell their stories. Yes, I know, it’s therapeutic.

Downstairs, before we left, the head of the hospital, an Israeli named Audrey, was showing me the children’s waiting room. I couldn’t help but notice, all around, an Arab woman with her son, an Arab family over there checking in, Arab children playing with the toys while waiting. The doctor saw the look on my face and laughed. “Oh, yes, we treat everyone.” I guess I was astonished. She just shrugged. “We’re Jews. This is how we live. It’s also for the future. They’re not going anywhere, and we’re not going anywhere. There will eventually be peace. There has to be.” When? A month? A year? A hundred years? More? She didn’t know. I had to say it. You’re incredible. You take everyone, you treat everyone, no one goes first, no one goes last, you just go in order of who needs help. That’s, like, Mother Teresa stuff. “We’re not saints, we’re just doing our jobs. It’s not easy, I admit. And it gets hard when they cheer when the bodies are brought in.” I looked at her. What did you say? She sighed. “Yes, it gets hard when they cheer.”

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