Israel and its people are foremost in our hearts and minds during this time. In the spirit of solidarity, Drs. Paley and Feldman, on behalf of the Paley Orthopedic & Spine Institute, have expressed their thoughts and wishes for peace and healing.
From Dr. Dror Paley:
The current situation in Israel is very personal for me. I was born in Tel Aviv, Israel in 1956. My father was a holocaust survivor who emigrated to Palestine after World War II. My mother was born in Palestine in 1931 to parents who emigrated there in 1907. Her family were founders of the State of Israel and fought in all its wars. In 1947, my mother’s brother was responsible for building 13 Kibbutzim along the border of Gaza. His wife and children continue to live in several of these Kibbutzim to this day. I grew up visiting Kibbutz Nirim, Magen, Beeri, and several others and was in Kibbutz Nirim to visit my 90-year-old aunt as recently as May this year.
I woke up Saturday morning to find out that my aunt, my cousins, and their children and grandchildren were locked down, sheltering in the ‘safe room’ of their homes, where they had to stay for 48 hours as terrorists roamed outside. Fortunately, no one from my family was hurt. The same luck did not extend to some members of their Kibbutz who were found slaughtered on the street, outside their homes, etc. These kibbutzim are now ghost towns after they were evacuated. My family members are now refugees staying with other members of our family, including my brother, who lives up north. Meanwhile, my nieces and nephews, who are currently on active duty in the military, and my cousin’s children, who are in the reserves, have all been mobilized. As I said, this war is very personal to me.
As a physician and surgeon, as a humanitarian, and as an international icon in my field, I have had the privilege to travel the world and treat patients from all nationalities, races, religions, cultures, and socio-economic groups, irrespective of politics, without favoritism or discrimination. I pride myself on that and surround myself with partners, friends, colleagues, and patients from all parts of the nation and the globe. Our waiting room is a veritable United Nations where Orthodox Jews sit beside observant Muslims and devout Christians, all seeking the best treatment for their children in harmony. As a Jew born in Israel, I have traveled the Arab and Muslim world from Morocco to Indonesia. I count many Arabs and Muslims as close friends and colleagues. I study Arabic and operate a Paley Institute in Abu Dhabi to expand our reach in the Arab and Muslim world. If the world could take our example, then differences would be resolved without this indiscriminate killing and acts of barbarism.
On behalf of myself and the Paley Orthopedic and Spine Institute, we condemn the atrocities that were inflicted by Hamas terrorists to Israeli civilians this week and extend our condolences and prayers to the families and to the survivors. There are no reasons or excuses that justify such wholesale murder of civilians. This behavior is reminiscent of the Nazis. At the Paley Institute, we are in the business of saving limbs and lives. Therefore, when I see precious lives and limbs being intentionally extinguished, I can only cry. Perhaps if nations were run by caring physicians who value life and health above all else, there would be no more war.
Dror Paley, MD
Medical Director, Paley Orthopedic & Spine Institute
From Dr. David Feldman
I do not post regarding my political and religious beliefs, but the horrific and unparalleled events of this past week are not about politics or religion.
My childhood was influenced by the presence of friends and family who were holocaust survivors and their stories of Nazi atrocities. Their lives forever altered by the genocide they witnessed and the wives and children they lost to gas chambers and firing squads. The dehumanization they experienced and the sheer evil they witnessed seared in their souls.
My adult life has been dedicated to treating children with disabilities. Treating children from all over the world regardless of race, religion, and ethnicity. I travel to Poland, United Arab Emirates, and Israel to examine and treat these children. In Israel, the national insurance program pays for me to come to Israel and treat Muslim and Jewish Children equally. There is no distinction, because a child is a child and a person in need is simply a person.
This week with the brutal and heinous attack on innocent men, women, children, and infants has left me saddened, helpless and devastated for all of us. Friends lost their children, brothers, sisters, friends, parents, and grandparents. My good friend’s 10-month-old niece and her father shot, firing squad style, in front of her brothers and his sons. They were murdered because they were Jews. They were murdered because they lived in Israel. Many were ironically peace activists, whose life work was to bridge the gap and find peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. Their dream of peace is shattered. Their life’s work a failure. The cycle of pain will continue. The response and defense of this senseless act will inevitably lead to a new cycle of pain and loss of more innocent Israelis and Palestinians.
“Thoughts and Prayers” are not a solution nor an answer. We need to change as a human race and not accept this of ourselves or our leaders. There is no excuse for inhumanity. I was in Gaza many years ago, it is one of the most beautiful natural locations on the Mediterranean. It could be the Paris of the Middle East instead of a haven for murderous rampaging thugs.
Muslim, Jew, Christian, Russian, Ukrainian, and American must shout from the roof tops that humanity matters, that life matters and that in 2023 we are all one. Please wake up and speak, not to the people in your comfort zone but those who may seem different.
Please allow this moment to be of love and not hate and save humanity for us all.
David Feldman, MD
Associate Director, Paley Orthopedic & Spine Institute
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