Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dr. Hasan Matani

Jeff and I have had the great pleasure, for the fourth year, of staying with Dr. Hasan Matani at his home in Qalansuwa.  Dr. Matani is a board member of Physicians for Human Rights Israel and has regularly participated in PHR's mobile clinics in Palestine for the last 19 years.  Dr. Matani is a family physician and active in the Hadash Party, the party in Israel of Arabs and Jews, trying to give voice to Palestinian citizens of Israel.  Dr Matani is a leader in his village and brings his warmth and humility to all of his interactions. He is a man of many talents, fluent in Arabic, Hebrew, English, Czech (where he studied medicine) and conversational in Russian and Spanish.  His home is a gathering place for local politics and he is close to the leaders of his party on a national level.  His 18 year old daugher, Asil, is on the national Youth Committee of the Israeli Communist Party.  Last night, Dr. Matani gathered 10 high school students to engage with us in a discussion of local politics, organizing for social change and a quick game of "truth or dare."  As is typical of his daily life, as we were having an another amazing dinner at his home last night, he received a call from a father in Gaza whose fourth son has been diagnosed with brain cancer and he was seeking Dr. Matani's help to gain entry into Israel for treatment.  Dr. Matani made a flurry of calls to the staff of PHR Israel and has continued his efforts during the day today on the child's behalf.  

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