ST. LOUIS (Sep. 15)
The large-scale influx of recent immigrants into Israel has created serious psychological problems in the Jewish State, Dr. Kalman J. Mann, director general of the Hadassah Medical Organization, declared here today.
Speaking at the 45th national convention of Hadassah, Dr. Mann stressed that “unless these problems are given immediate attention brought expanded psychiatric and social medical services they can endanger the well-being and unity of Israel.” More than 2, 500 delegates and guests are attending the four-day convention which ends tomorrow.
At an earlier session, Mrs. Benjamin Gottesman, national treasurer of Hadassah, reported that Hadassah, in the last year, raised $10,500, 000, the largest sum in the organization’s 47-year history. This is $1, 500, 000 more than the $9, 000, 000 budgeted for Hadassah programs in 1958-59. Mrs. Siegfried Kramarsky, Hadassah’s chairman of the Wills and Bequests committee, said that the total sum raised by Hadassah last year includes $500, 000 from Wills and Bequests.
Dr. Mann in his address, pointed out that Israel’s newcomers come from rural, underdeveloped areas of the Middle East and North Africa, “where they were incapable of self-government or organized social action in the democratic pattern. ” In Israel, he said, these new immigrants are exposed to a complicated process of readaptation and rehabilitation within the frameword of an entirely different culture and economic setting.
These newcomers, he continued, have manifested “psychological abnormalities that can spread and involve large sections of Israel. ” To cope with these hazards, Dr. Mann stated that the Hadassah medical organization has established special departments for the early detection, diagnosis and therapy of emotional and social illnesses among these immigrants. These departments are staffed by specialists in the fields of psychiatry and sociology.
Dr. Moshe Prywes, associate dean of the Hebrew-University Hadassah Medical School, said that “from Italy to China, Israel is the only country with very high standards to teach progressive medicine, and with developed research activities. ” He said that Israel is a small and a poor country. “However,” he added, “we may export health and medical knowledge to other countries in our region.” He cited as an example the interest being shown in Israel medicine by countries such as Ethiopia, Burma, Liberia and Ghana, among others.