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Hadassah Re-dedicates Hospital on Mount Scopus Rabin; Re-dedication Contributes to ‘quest for Peace

October 22, 1975
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus, originally opened in 1939, severed from Israel and isolated from 1948 to 1967, was dedicated anew here today. In the presence of Israel’s President. Premier, government leaders and other public personalities, Hadassah President Rose Matzkin made the rededication oration, and the hospital director Prof. Kalman Mann offered the sheheheyanu benediction.

Twelve hundred Hadassah women flew in specially for the ceremony. They arrived on time, despite the El Al strike, to attend an impressive and memorable ceremony held against the scenic splendor of Scopus’ glorious views of the Edom Mountains to the east and the city of Jerusalem to the west. The hospital, which will begin working next summer, will cater to the population of East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

As such, as Premier Yitzhak Rabin noted in his address, the hospital would become “another instrument for uniting Jerusalem.” By rededicating the hospital, Rabin continued, “your efforts go beyond the spread of health and healing to all in need. They contribute to human understanding and hence to our quest for peace with our neighbors.” Israel, he continued, “opens the door of this hospital, indeed of all our hospitals, to any man, woman or child across our borders in search of healing and care.”


The re-dedicated building contains three times as much floor space as the original hospital. The marvel of it is–and this was stressed by Mrs. Charlotte Jacobson, chairman of the World Zionist Organization-American Section and a former president of Hadassah in her opening remarks–that the added space was inserted within the existing external walls–in other words, without changing the overall shape of the building originally designed and executed by Bauhaus architect Eric Mendelsson in the 1930s. The rebuilt hospital will have 300 beds; but it is not a small hospital by any means.

Officials explained that modern hospitals are not to be judged by bed capacity. The original hospital, a third of the size, had 400 beds. Modern medical advances mean that many patients are ambulatory and many departments specialize in outpatient work. The Scopus’ Hadassah Hospital will try not to duplicate the specialized work of the Ein Karem Hadassah in West Jerusalem. Thus, as Prof. Mann told reporters, there will be no open heart surgery department. The Scopus hospital will have the largest rehabilitation department in Israel.

The architect responsible for the rebuilding is Yaacov Rechter of Israel. Not altogether in jest, Mrs. Jacobson suggested to reporters that he be nominated for a Nobel Prize for his efforts on Scopus. The work so far has his efforts on Scopus. The work so far has cost $20 million and the three leaders of Hadassah, Mrs. Matzkin, Mrs. Jacobson and Mrs. Faye Schenk, reported on plans to spend up to $15 million more before all the stages of the rebuilding are completed.


The theme of Mrs. Matzkin’s re-dedication speech was: “It is the job of the enlightened to rebuild with the tools of creativity what the hateful with their weapons of oppression have destroyed. We believe in creative building in creative living, in creative doing, and we will not allow the hateful with their weapons of oppression to destroy what we build for the future.”

Continuing, she declared: “What we represent today is the validity of the age-old dream… that the Jewish people have a right to return to what has always been the city of the Jews and the country of the Jewish people.”

Expressing her outrage at the anti-Zionist draft resolution adopted by the UN Third Committee last Friday, Mrs. Matzkin emphasized the irony that while many UN members who have stated their commitment to humanitarian ideals, are involved in the active subversion of the UN from an instrument of peace to an instrument for the furtherance of racism, Hadassah is dedicating a citadel of healing which will open its doors to Jews, Christians and Moslems.


Mrs. Jacobson, who chaired the proceedings, told the sweltering audience that the organizers had prayed it would not rain–and God had answered with the heat wave. She said Hadassah had “never forgotten” the loss of Scopus or given up the “dream to return.” The re-dedication was “an act of the deep Zionist philosophy of Hadassah women. Part of that philosophy is to use medicine as a bridge to peace, and we hope the thousands of Arab patients who have benefitted from skilled care at Hadassah will act as messengers of peace to their peoples.” Mrs. Jacobson stated.

These thoughts were echoed by U.S. Ambassador Malcolm Toon who dwelt, too, on the role planned for the Scopus hospital to serve men and women of all creeds. This role “symbolizes in a most graphic way our hopes for the present and for the future.” he said.

Acting WZO Chairman Leon Dulzin, praised the “courageous pioneering venture” by Hadassah. Its history from the first nursing contingent that landed here in the 1930s on Mt. Scopus through the efforts of Henrietta Szold was “an integral part of the history of the yishuv–its struggles and its hopes.” he said. Hebrew University President Avraham Harman said: “The healing hand of Hadassah has restored this place.” Also present on the dais was Congressman Charles Vanik (D, Ohio), currently visiting Israel. Hadassah will hold a memorial service tomorrow for the 78 who fell in the convoy of nurses and doctors ambushed en route to Hadassah Hospital in 1948.

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