• The hospital: Send checks to ELCA Disaster Response (write “Augusta Victoria Hospital Emergency” on the notation line), P.O. Box 71764, Chicago, IL 60694-1764; 800-638-3522.
• The schools: Send checks (write “Lutheran schools in the Holy Land” on the notation line) to ELCA Global Mission/David Lerseth, 8765 W. Higgins Road, Chicago, IL 60631.
After the election of Hamas, which refused to remove calls for the destruction of Israel from its charter, the international community froze aid and the Israeli government withheld Palestinians’ tax revenues. Both actions had financial implications for a Lutheran hospital and school system.
|Augusta Victoria Hospital|
The Lutheran World Federation’s Augusta Victoria Hospital lost “an average of $200,000 each month for treatment provided to patients referred to [the hospital] by the Palestinian Authority,” said a June 16 statement from hospital CEO Tawfiq Nasser and Mark Brown, LWF regional representative. As other Palestinian hospitals decreased services, Augusta Victoria saw the monthly tab for those referrals rise to nearly $300,000. As of June, the hospital had paid staff through April and was struggling to provide medicine and supplies.
U.S. and European churches and Norway’s government are providing support. Said Ailabouni of ELCA Global Mission said the ELCA gave $150,000 beyond the $270,000 the hospital received in 2006 from the ELCA World Hunger Appeal.
At presstime the European Union, Israel, U.S. and Russia agreed to ensure that international aid and tax funding would begin flowing toward humanitarian work such as that provided by the LWF hospital. But Nasser and Brown were still waiting to hear how this would be accomplished.
Regarding Lutheran schools, Munib Younan, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, said June 13: “For the last four months we received no tuition fees because no salaries have been paid to government employees.”