We were thrilled to welcome Dr Ofer Merin and Dr Fayez Khatib to our Interfaith Forum at Eton College last week.  This event was the first of its kind for SZUK and for Eton and was a success for everyone involved. 

Hosted by Lord Winston, we were joined by guests that included pupils and parents of Eton College who had been invited to hear from the two doctors about the dilemmas medical professionals face in Israel.

Dr Fayez Khatib is a senior consultant gynaecologist and the director of the ambulatory gynaecology unit at Shaare Zedek Medical Centre.  Originally from Nazareth, northern Israel, he studied medicine at the Hebrew university in Jerusalem and has been working at Shaare Zedek Medical Centre since 1996 when he started his residency in obstetrics and gynaecology.   He led a discussion on the influence of faith on medicine.

 “Sometimes we witness how faith and medicine clash, both for patients and practitioners” he said.  “This is frequently the case when dealing with IVF, pregnancy terminations and foetal reductions.  It is important to act sensitively in such situations”

Dr. Ofer Merin is Deputy Director of Shaare Zedek, practises as a cardiothoracic surgeon and is Head of our Trauma Unit. Dr Merin also holds the title as Head of Israel’s Defence Forces Mobile Field Hospital. The unit was first on the scene at the natural disasters in Nepal, Haiti and the Philippines and is officially recognized by the World Health Organization, ranked at the top of its class, following evaluation of the work of 83 countries.

Whilst addressing guests he discussed the need to find a balance between “utilitarianism and egalitarianism”, alongside individual and collective rights, when deciding who to treat and what level of intervention to undertake when faced with treating victims of terror.

Just a few hours after giving his talk about these difficult situations Dr Merin was coordinating the hospital’s trauma team by phone as they responded to a stabbing attack in Jerusalem. Dr Merin told us more than ten senior physicians, from surgery, heart surgery, anaesthesia and intensive care worked for over five hours to try to save Adiel Kolman. Tragically, after endless efforts he succumbed to his wounds.

Simi Ben Hur, executive director of Shaare Zedek UK, said of the event: “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to partner with Eton College for this special event.”

“Bringing together families of different faiths through the life-saving and groundbreaking work of our hospital shows the important role Shaare Zedek plays in a hopeful future for Jerusalem, Israel and the world.”

Speaking at the event, headmaster Simon Henderson said: “Providing opportunities for boys of different faiths is a core part of what we offer here.” 

“In the modern world, it is important to set out principles of working together as a means of solving the world’s problems.”

If you would like information on future events, please contact Shoshana on 020 8201 8933 or email shoshana@shaarezedek.org.uk