On February 4, Zack Rothbart, assistant director of AACI’s Shira Pransky Project (SPP), represented Israel’s English-speaking community in a panel and discussion on cultural competency held as part of a course on the topic being given to 25 senior administrators in the Leumit Health Fund. The panel consisted of other representatives from different cultural groups in Israel including the Ethiopian, ultra-orthodox, and Arab communities. Panel members were asked to present particular problems faced by their constituencies in the Israeli healthcare system, so that these issues can be known and properly addressed as part of Leumit’s overall plan for implementing cultural competency on the national, regional and community levels.
SPP Founder Gabe Pransky in attendance at a special panel and discussion on cultural competency
As the English-speaking population’s representative, and in keeping with the Shira Pransky Project’s basic mission, Zack stressed the importance of recognizing English-speakers in Israel as a unique immigrant community, emphasizing that this recognition is often lacking as it is often assumed in Israel bureaucracies that English-speakers can handle their own affairs without any additional support. It was also pointed out that while most Israelis speak English to some extent, the level of spoken English required to sell to tourists in the shuk, for example, is not the same level required to explain complex and critical medical or bureaucratic situations. In explaining that those who do not grow up in the mainstream Israeli bureaucratic system are generally unaware of many key rights and benefits, Zack offered the Shira Pransky Project’s assistance and expertise to the other members of the panel whose communities can also certainly benefit from shared resources and experience.
After the event, Hanan Ohana of the Jerusalem Inter-Cultural Center (JICC), who organized the event, thanked the panel participants, adding how important it is to emphasize and understand the community aspect of cultural competency. AACI’s Shira Pransky Project looks forward to participating in similar events in the future in order to continue helping English-speakers in Israel gain greater access to their rights within the healthcare system, as well as make the existing healthcare bureaucracy increasingly accessible and more easily navigable.
If you have encountered systemic issues in the Israeli healthcare bureaucracy that you think impact all of Israel’s English-speakers, let us know so that we can bring it up at future meetings with leaders in the Israeli healthcare system: firstname.lastname@example.org.