The following is most of Zel Lurie’s column for the Feb. 26 issue of the Jewish Journal of South Florida:
As Israel approaches its 60th birthday we find that, as unusual, we Jews have contradictory opinions about its successes and failures. Daniel Gavron, a Jerusalem writer, asks bluntly on a recent op-ed page of the New York Times: “We have won the battle for survival. Why aren’t we celebrating?”
Gabriele Schoenfeld, also of Jerusalem, answers Gavron on the letters page: “We will win when we no longer have to attend a funeral of young Israelis murdered by terrorists while hiking,” she writes.
And from a suburb of Jerusalem Stuart Pilchowski writes: “I don’t know where Daniel Gavron lives but the Israel I live [in] is being rocketed daily by Qassams and targeted regularly by suicide bombers.”
In his op-ed piece Gavron balances the threats from Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas with the agreement by the Palestine Authority to negotiate peace with Israel. He writes: “Far more significantly, Fatah, the official Palestinian leadership, is negotiating peace with Israel. The member states of the Arab League, headed by Saudi Arabia” have recognized Israel within its pre-1067 borders. And the world’s only superpower, the United States, supports Israel in every way. …
I will mark Israel’s 60th birthday by concentrating on Israel’s magnificent achievements in medical science and, in particular, on a new and revolutionary branch called “regenerative medicine.”
I was introduced to regenerative medicine by Professor Dan Gazit of the Hebrew University only a few weeks ago at a meeting in Palm Beach of the American Friends of Hebrew University. I had never heard of the term before. …
Prof. Gazit avoids all controversy over the use of human embryos. He will take stem cells directly from the patient to engineer new tissue in the patient. He is concentrating on the bone and spine. He showed a diagram of a spinal fusion in which cement is injected to fuse two vertebrae. How much better it would be if he could inject stem cells instead to bind the bones together. …
A week after hearing Professor Gazit, I received the February issue of Hadassah Magazine from which I retired as editor and publisher 24 years ago. The monthly medical article by Wendy Elliman was titled “Making Bones About it.” In his presentation in Palm Beach, Professor Gazit did not mention that his colleagues in the Orthopedic Department of the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center at Ein Karim are ready to begin a clinical trial of stem cell bone therapy in human beings.
Wendy Elliman quotes Dr. Meir Liebergall, chief surgeon of Hadassah’s Orthopedic Department. He told her: “Twenty-four young adults, most of them road accident victims with fractures that are of high risk of healing improperly, either because of location, infection or devascularization of the bone, will volunteer for the study.” …
“Bone repair is an ideal candidate for stem cell therapy because it enhances a natural repair process,” says Dr. Liebergall.
“Harnessing the healing potential of stem cells will benefit patients of all ages whether their need is joint replacement or spinal fusion or repair of the ravages of war or terror.”
In Israel medicine, Hadassah, as usual, leads the way.
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