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Israelis resign from Hadassah hospital board

NEW YORK (JTA) — As the spat between Hadassah: The Womens Zionist Organization of America and the doctors at its medical center in Israel heats up, three Israeli members of the hospital’s board have resigned.

The doctors’ union at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem has been protesting the resignation of the hospital’s director, claiming he was pushed out by the Hadassah home office. Hadassah leaders in New York have insisted that Shlomo Mor-Yosef resigned on his own.

Mor-Yosef has never said whether he was pushed out, but after a long silence he is now asking for a two-year extension on his contract, which expires in 2010.

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

According to the Jerusalem Post, the resigning board members said that more than a year ago, "the board of the medical organization decided to postpone their strategic plan because the board of the Hadassah organization in New York had already decided to end Prof. Mor-Yosef’s term."

The newspaper also reported that "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 fund raising."

Hadassah is claiming that the board members were intimidated into resigning. The organization said in a statement that it "accepts with great regret" the resignations, calling the three Israeli board members "dedicated people."

"We are troubled to think," the statement added, "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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