Writing a quarterly editorial for the Hadassah Australia newsletter is always a pleasure – an opportunity to celebrate the impact Hadassah Australia is having on health outcomes in Israel. And there is plenty that is inspiring - from the announcement of the transformative gift to Jerusalem by John Gandel AC and Pauline Gandel AC and the Gandel Family, to the success of our Achotenu Ethiopian Scholarships in health and the incredible work being done by Goshen in the area of early childhood development in Israel.

But overarching all of the above, are the unfolding events in Ukraine. Russia’s unprovoked and massive invasion of its neighbour seems eerily reminiscent of a different era. The pervasive use of propaganda to provide artificial pretext to a territorial land grab followed by overwhelming military power sends shivers up the spine of all of us who had family directly exposed to the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939 and everyone who lived through the global consequences of unbridled authoritarianism unleashed. We hope and pray for the people of Ukraine and for their aspirations to live in peace in their democratic homeland.

The difficult times remind us of the ongoing need to invest in the fabric of civil society, both here in Australia and also in Israel. In both countries, health is at the forefront of our concerns with the ongoing battle against COVID. The core Hadassah idea, reflected in the commitment of the legendary Henrietta Szold, was that healthcare was a fundamental human right and we had, and continue to have, an opportunity to deliver positive social outcomes through health. This is the Mission of Hadassah – more about our Vision, Mission and Values in this issue.

I am proud of Hadassah Australia’s ongoing contribution to building Israeli civil society through health.

In this otherwise dark hour, I feel the work that we are doing is a meaningful source of light and hope.

Ron Finkel AM

President, Hadassah Australia

8 March 2022

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