In the bustling corridors of our hospital, I’ve borne witness to extraordinary resilience during one of our nation’s most challenging times. Each day, I walk through the ICU where the monitors beep in rhythmic precision, where patients — civilians and soldiers — fight for their lives.
Our hospital, an emblem of medical excellence in the Middle East and the world, has treated some of the most critical cases since the start of the war. We have increased our capacity — more beds, advanced equipment and technologies, and expanded our dedicated and skilled staff — all to ensure that we provide the best possible care.
However, what lingers most in my mind is not the clinical precision of our medical staff, nor our advanced technology, but the unwavering strength and palpable spirit of the families gathered together. In this darkest hour, they offer a shining beacon of hope, a testament to the unbreakable spirit that defines Israel and its people.
Our history is riddled with moments that tested the strength of our resolve, and yet, time and again, we have risen above adversity. Over the past few months our nation has been entrenched in deep political conflict. However, in times of crisis, a remarkable phenomenon occurs — divisions dissolve and a profound unity takes hold. It is a testament to the unwavering spirit of the Jewish people that, in the face of tragedy, no force can sever the bonds that bind us together.
In my attempt to strengthen patients and families grappling with the gravest of circumstances, I found myself being strengthened in return. Families and loved ones of those viciously attacked exuded a strength that defies comprehension. In their eyes, I saw a deep well of confidence, an unyielding resilience and a powerful sense of togetherness. It is a strength that goes beyond the physical and delves into the very essence of the Israeli spirit.
What strikes me most in these trying times is the unity that pervades our society. Israelis of all backgrounds and walks of life are standing shoulder to shoulder. From parents and families of soldiers and civilians — those born in Israel, others who immigrated from the U.S. and other countries — the collective strength of our people is awe-inspiring. Together, we sit, we pray and we bolster the spirits of our nation, including our medical staff, giving back to the dedicated nurses and doctors who work tirelessly to save lives.
It is heartening to witness the spirit of volunteering that has permeated every corner of our hospital. Organizations, youth groups and individuals alike converge to offer support in a myriad of ways — from providing food, clothing and electronics to families and staff to simply being there, a reassuring presence in a time of chaos. Volunteers stay with patients, allowing families precious moments of rest and bringing not just sustenance but also a sense of normalcy and humanity to a situation fraught with pain and uncertainty. It is a testament to the innate goodness that exists within the Israeli people. It is, however, lamentable that it takes a crisis like war to bring out such an outpouring of generosity and kindness.
Yet, in the sadness of this necessity, there is also a glimmer of hope. The spirit of the people of Israel, with their generosity and resilience, strengthens the medical staff, urging us to continue our vital work even in the face of daunting challenges that lie ahead. We are ready — we have trained for this moment.
In the coming days, as we work to expand our capabilities even further, we draw inspiration from the unity, strength and acts of kindness that define us as a people. It is a resilience that refuses to be broken, a collective will that declares, unequivocally, that we will overcome, we will flourish again, and, together we will rise. Just as the human body has an astonishing capacity to heal, rebuild and regain its strength, so too does our nation possess the remarkable ability to mend its wounds and emerge even stronger.
The hope, unity and kindness we see at the hospital is a microcosm of the unwavering spirit across the entire country. We will continue to do our part in providing the best medical care possible, ensuring that our people both endure and thrive in the face of adversity.
In the aftermath of these battles and the challenges we’ve faced, we will come together to ask the tough questions. Unity is our strength, and as we evaluate and improve what needs fixing, let’s remember that we have no other army, no other people and no other country. We must remain united, for our resilience and unity are the cornerstones of our enduring spirit.
Lieutenant Colonel (Res) Mr. Yoel Hareven is the Director of the International Division & Resource Development at Sheba Medical Center, Israel’s largest medical center and a Newsweek ranked world’s best hospital for the last five years. He served in the Israel Defense Forces for 28 years – starting out as a frontline Combat Nurse and rapidly ascending through all levels of command, to reach the position of Assistant to the Surgeon General. He retired from the army with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.