For more than 50 years, Augusta Victoria, a Lutheran World Federation hospital, has provided medical care to Palestinian refugees in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. It’s the only hospital available to many Palestinians with leukemia and other cancers.
That care is threatened by a Dec. 22, 2002, ruling from the Israeli District Court in Jerusalem, which revoked a tax exemption agreement between Israel and the LWF that dates back to 1967. The LWF appealed the ruling, but the nonprofit hospital’s tax exempt status has yet to be restored—limiting its ability to continue serving the Palestinian population, most of whom have few resources and lack insurance.
The Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs asks you to write to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, asking her to urge Israeli officials not to revoke Augusta Victoria Hospital’s tax exempt status (U.S. Department of State, 2201 C St. NW, Washington DC 20520). To send a letter online, visit www.elca.org/advocacy and click on “action alerts.”
For two years Yusri Saifi’s infectious smile lit the rooms of young cancer patients at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital. “Nobody cared that I was Palestinian,” he says. “They cared that I was a doctor. I was one of the team and had the same opportunities aseverybody else.’’
Until April, he was one of several doctors serving this Jewish hospital in West Jerusalem. That’s when the Palestinian doctor finished his residency and began serving as the lone pediatric oncologist at Augusta Victoria Hospital, a ministry the Lutheran World Federation owns and operates in mostly Arab East Jerusalem.
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© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers