Diane and Ira Riklis came to
support medical center.

Rabin Medical Center
Time Out For Healing



EATH has cast a shadow over our lives,” sighed a weary Nava Barak, wife of Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Barak. “This has become a country where parents bury their children.”

Nava flew to New York to address American Friends of Rabin Medical Center (AFRMC) inaugural dinner at the Metropolitan Club. Although head of the Israeli Friends of Rabin Medical Center for five years, she said her connection goes back further: “Ehud was born there.”

Leah Rabin, widow of the assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, in whose memory the hospital is named, couldn’t attend the dinner. She is a patient in the hospital undergoing treatment for lung cancer.

Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. David Ivry noted that when generals retire, they put on civilian clothes and join the search for peace, like Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak.

Mortimer Zuckerman had lots to
tell to Nava Barak, the prime
minister’s wife.

“There is one general,” Ivry said, “who had joined us in our quest for peace, but has never taken off his uniform – Yasser Arafat.”

Nava recounted her efforts to console the wife of one of the two soldiers brutally lynched last month by a frenzied mob in Ramallah.

“She was married five days before the massacre,” Nava said. “She is pregnant. Her child will be born an orphan.”

“But we will prevail,” the vivacious First Lady added. “We have no other land. We are one people with one history and tradition. Now we are one people under attack.”

Daily News publisher Mortimer Zuckerman, dinner co-chairman with Mona Ackerman, was so moved that he led a standing ovation along with Aya Azrielant, Seymour Reich, and AFRMC president Woody Goldberg.

“Nava,” Zuckerman declared, “you make us all proud to be part of the Jewish community.”

Dinner co-chair Mona Ackerman
(right) and Vera Stern

Howard Metzenbaum, the retired Democratic senator from Ohio, and his wife Shirley turned to me and praised Nava’s courage for coming here, instead of being beside her embattled husband.

“It shows how much she believes in this hospital,” Shirley said.

Rabin Medical Center in Petach Tikvah, near Tel Aviv, was formed four years ago with the merger of Beilinson and Golda-Hasharon hospitals to become Israel’s largest medical institution. Funds from this dinner will go for the construction of the Leon Davidoff Comprehensive Cancer Center.


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