Hadassah spat heats up

The spat between Hadassah: The Womens Zionist Organization of America, which owns Hadassah Medical Organization in Israel, and the doctors union at the hospital seems to have really heated up now.

The Recap: The doctors union has been up in arms over the resignation of the hospital’s director, Shlomo Mor-Yosef, who they claim was pushed out by the Hadassah home office. Hadassah leaders in New York have dug in their heels and insisted that Mor-Yosef resigned on his own. Mor-Yosef has never said whether he was pushed out, but after a long silence he is asking for a two-year extension on his contract, which expires in 2010. In additon, three Israeli members of the board of the hospital have resigned, according to The Jerusalem Post.

It seems that the board members resigned over the financial state of the hospital and, according to the JPost, the declining dollars that Hadassah has been allocating toward daily operations at the hospital, instead focusing on raising the money to complete the opening of a new $300 million medical tower on the medical center’s Jerusalem campus.

"This," added the resigning board members, "was undertaken in order to deal with the financial pressure and deficit that resulted from the sudden cutback of the annual allocation from HWZOA to the hospitals."

The HMO board, they wrote, decided over a year ago to postpone the strategic planning that had already been agreed upon earlier. "The reason was that the board members from HWZOA had already decided to end Prof. Mor-Yosef’s term."

The resigning members also complained that with less money being donated by HWZOA, they had proposed the establishment of a friends’ organization in Israel that would donate funds directly to HMO, but this was opposed by the American members of the board, who preferred to continue to have its monopoly over fundraising.

Hadassah is claiming that the board members were intimidated into resigning, says the JPost:

HWZOA said that it "accepts with great regret" the resignation of the three Israeli board members, calling them "dedicated people." Its statement added that "We are troubled to think that an orchestrated campaign of harassment and personal attack may have forced these three people to step down, especially during these difficult times when their service was especially needed. These attacks have been highly critical of the devoted women of Hadassah and even have criticized American Jews in general."

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