Rambam support group launched

At the launch, from left, Australian Friends of Rambam executive director Vered Harel, Rambam CEO Dr Miki Halberthal, and Israeli ambassador Mark Sofer. Photo: Michael Silver.

AFTER many hours in the air, Israeli guest Dr Michael (Miki) Halberthal of Israel’s Rambam Hospital told guests at the launch of local support group, Australian Friends of Rambam, he wants them to talk widely to others about Rambam.

“I cannot get Australia closer to Israel, but my mission is to get Rambam closer to your mouths,” he said.

The Israeli doctor, who is director-general and CEO of the Haifa-based hospital and health care complex, joined a throng of supporters at Melbourne’s Raheen, residence of philanthropist Jeanne Pratt.

Halberthal spoke of “the strong ties with Australian medical institutions, ranging from fellowships to collaborative research, representing huge potential” for mutual outcomes in medicine and health care.

During his stay, Halberthal has visited The Alfred and Monash Medical Centre to discuss furthering ties with Rambam. 

“Part of our mandate as physicians or medical people is obviously to give the best treatments but also to push the envelope all the time,” said Halberthal, who has been director-general since March this year, and has been with the hospital for the past 33 years.

“We are serving the northern part of Israel, 2.3 million people, and we are the only tertiary care centre in the northern part of Israel,” he explained.

He said decades of experience have made Rambam a leader in trauma treatment and home to an internationally recognised teaching centre for trauma and mass-casualty situations.

Israel ambassador Mark Sofer expressed “a special affinity for this hospital, because two of my grandchildren were born in it”, noting this year is the hospital’s 80th anniversary and “The story of Israel is the story of Rambam Hospital.”

Australian Friends of Rambam honorary president Jeffrey Rosenfeld described his group as “a very young organisation … Rambam has not had a very high profile [in Australia]”.

But he said Rambam’s location is “very strategic … it’s supporting the defence of Israel to the north, looking after injured soldiers, and looking after the people of Israel”.

“We see ourselves as a national organisation and we will go forward in a national way, but we are starting off here in Melbourne. There are three arms to our work. One is to raise the profile of Rambam, as we’re doing here tonight, the second is to facilitate collaborative research in science and medicine between us here in Australia and Rambam and Technion … and to raise money for Rambam,” said Rosenfeld.

Jeanne Pratt spoke about Rambam’s “advanced facilities, its modern equipment [and] its highly trained specialists … its readiness for any emergency”.

For further information, visit ausforam.org.au.

PETER KOHN