Hospital happening

Focusing on Abraham Accords, Sheba Medical Center raises $2.74M at 75th anniversary

Event celebrates hospital’s history and its role in deepening ties between Israel and the Gulf

Sheba Medical Center raised over NIS 10 million ($2.74 million) in a massive gala event on Sunday, which highlighted the hospital’s partnerships in the Gulf following the Abraham Accords, a Sheba spokesperson told eJewishPhilanthropy.

Located in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan, Sheba Medical Center, still often referred to by its original name Tel HaShomer, is now Israel’s largest hospital and one of its top-rated.

More than 1,400 people attended the annual gala earlier this week, significantly more than in previous years. This year’s event celebrated the hospital’s 75th anniversary – it was formed as a military hospital shortly after the founding of the state – and Sheba sought to highlight its role in deepening ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain through medicine.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides and Bahraini Ambassador to Israel Khaled Yusuf Al-Jalahma attended the event, along with a host of Israeli celebrities and business leaders. The Sheba spokesperson said dozens of donors from North America, Europe, Australia and Africa also flew in for the event.

The event was held in a converted parking lot on the hospital’s 200-acre campus. The NIS 10 million that was raised came from both donations and ticket sales for the swanky gala.

Mohamed Alabbar, an Emirati businessman whose Emaar Properties built the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall, delivered one of the addresses during the event. Since the signing of the Abraham Accords, Alabbar has played a key role in connecting Sheba Medical Center to medical institutions in the Gulf, the hospital spokesman said.

In his speech, Alabbar recalled a conversation that he’d had with Dr. Yitshak Kreiss, the director of Sheba Medical Center, about the ways in which medical care could advance peace. “We were talking about a dream or a vision. I think we’ve come a long way since then,” Alabbar said. “You said if we can just leave the politics aside and let the humanity be saved through healthcare.”

Alabbar joked that at least “[Artificial Intelligence] is going to take over and it can pick us good human beings who can run our countries.”

He also highlighted his connections to Dubai’s growing Jewish community, sharing an anecdote from last summer when he realized that his devout Muslim mother was fasting for the Day of Ashurah while Jews were fasting on the same day for Tisha B’Av.

The evening was hosted by Israeli TV news anchor Romy Neumark, the first person in Israel to be born through in-vitro fertilization. Israeli singers Shiri Maimon, Miri Mesika, and Amir Dadon also gave performances.

The hospital also told the story of a three-way kidney transplant overseen by Sheba between two people in Israel and one in UAE.

Rabbi Leo Dee, whose wife and two daughters were killed earlier this year in a terror attack, appeared alongside the woman who received his wife’s lungs, which were donated after her death.

In an emotional meeting on the sidelines of the event, Dee spoke to the woman, Matti Tzemach Egozi, and shook her hand, saying the prayer “Blessed [be God] who performed a miracle for me in this place.” Eyes watering, Egozi said that the Dees are her miracle: “I live thanks to you, thanks to your wife in heaven, that righteous woman.”