Australian supported nurses honoured by Israel’s First Lady

December 9, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Inspired by the impact of the Hadassah-Achotenu Ethiopian Israeli Scholarships in Health Program, Israel’s First Lady, Michal Herzog, honoured students supported by Hadassah Australia at an event she hosted at the president’s residence, Beit HaNassi.

Michal Herzog and Judy Lowy

Attendees included Hadassah-Hebrew University officials, Achotenu nursing graduates and students, and representatives of the organisations supporting the program.

Enamoured by the program’s impact, Michal Herzog said: “Achotenu is such a wise, important project because it doesn’t ignore the difficulties of Aliyah and absorption, but alongside them, it looks at the enormous advantages and the amazing opportunities brought by Ethiopian immigration to all of Israel.”

To the new nurses, Ms Herzog added: “You chose to study nursing, to break glass ceilings in the world of academia. You opted to study despite the dissenting voices you may have heard that suggested this course of action is not really for you. But you chose to study realizing that you are ambassadors for an entire community, knowing that your success is theirs too.”

The Achotenu Program benefits all Israelis by answering the call of the OECD, which declared that Israel must find an additional 1,000 graduate nurses per annum by the end of the decade to provide the community with effective healthcare. By helping these Ethiopian-Israelis earn degrees at the Henrietta Szold Hadassah-Hebrew University School of Nursing, the program creates highly trained nurses at this critical time in Israel’s history.

“The remarkable support for the program by the Australian Jewish Community is a wonderful expression of our ongoing desire to be part of the Zionist dream, to continue to build and make a real impact on Israeli society,” says Ron Finkel, president of Hadassah Australia. “We are building an Australian Achotenu community and connecting a new generation of Australians to Israel through this high impact health program.”

In the words of Judy Lowy, Director of La’Ofek, the Israeli organisation that initiated the Achotenu program: “The five-year academic nursing program advances the students professionally, not just for themselves but also for their families, many of whom underwent arduous journeys in the search for a better, more secure life in Israel.”

Lowy added, “The students are financially supported thanks to the extraordinary generosity of Hadassah Australia, Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization of America, the Hebrew University, the Israel Ministry of Health, foundations and private donors.”

Achotenu nursing graduates were thrilled to receive the recognition from Israel’s First Lady and share their appreciation for the opportunities created by the program.

One of the graduates, Inbal, said, “My job was to study, and Achotenu would take care of everything else. The fact that I was studying not only impacted my family, but also my friends, all of whom now want to advance themselves as well.”

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