Ron Finkel AM


When I sat down to write this introduction to the Project Rozana Year in Review in mid-January, I was blissfully unaware of the chaos that was about to overwhelm us, creating a ‘new normal’ that will define our lives in ways that we could never have anticipated. Some of the initiatives mentioned in this review may be curtailed, postponed or abandoned as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. However, until we have certainty over their future, the references will remain in place.

I am mindful that while the focus of this review is on the year completed, 2019, it has an eye on the year ahead, 2020; not only a new year, but a new decade and the promises it holds.

For Project Rozana, whose seed was planted in mid-2013, the calendar transition is much more than a date.

It marks a milestone on a continuum that reflects our evolution from an idea in 2013, launching a process of development and achievement in the following years to become a genuine ‘start-up’ in early 2017. Now in 2020, Project Rozana has become a truly in- ternational organization on the cusp of significant impactful expansion over the next decade.

I don’t make this statement lightly.

In 2013, with the launch of Project Rozana, we saw the future.

Our mission was and it remains to build better understanding between Israelis and Palestinians through health.

We felt strongly that innovative and novel ways could be found to address identified gaps in Palestinian health capacity by supporting the training of Palestinian health professionals in Israeli hospitals. Early ‘investors’ such as World Vision Australia and others were prepared to back our vision. Their validation and support attracted widespread interest and by early 2017 we were beginning to invest meaningful funds in programs reflecting our three core areas of activity – transportation, treatment and training.

We saw what could be done to leverage Israel’s world-first health system to benefit Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank. Our confidence was built on the knowledge that many individuals and organizations in Israel involved with healthcare were already working to support their Palestinian counterparts.

Today, seven years later, we celebrate the past. The foundations we built are stronger than we could have imagined. The successes are broader and more significant than we anticipated. The relationships more valued than we could have hoped for.

Looking back gives us the strength to push forward knowing that not only has the quality of life of so many Palestinians been enhanced, but that many lives have been saved. And increasingly, it is the Palestinians themselves who are using their training in Israel to build the health capacity of their own society.

2019 was a year to savour for Project Rozana when we reflect on significant achievements. Among our notable successes were:

  • The awarding to Project Rozana of a €741,286 sovereign grant by the European Union to expand the work of the Binational School of Psychotherapy, a new training program initiated by Project Rozana based at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem and originally financed by World Vision Australia (see the story).
  • The introduction of a Pediatric Rehabilitation & Developmental Intervention Training Project at two major rehabilitation centers in Jerusalem under the auspices of Project Rozana. ALYN Hospital and Jerusalem Princess Basma Center will implement the project to benefit practitioners working to support Palestinian children with disabilities.
  • Reaching an agreement with Physicians for Human Rights-Israel for a professional development program for Gazan doctors in Israeli hospitals to begin in early 2020.
  • It was also a sobering year with the death of our dear friend and fellow Australian Board member, Joe Samara. Joe passed away in May 2019 after a long illness. At the time of his retirement from our Board, I wrote that Joe was someone I constantly referred to as we built the Project Rozana family. His experience in the Middle East has given me important insights into needs and possibilities in the region that we are beginning to leverage for the benefit of Project Rozana. Joe was a man beloved by many and a true ‘mentsch’. I will miss his wise counsel.

I also want to thank Dave Sharma who retired from the Australian Board following his success in the Federal Election in May 2019. Dave is a former Australian Ambassador to Israel and is recognized as one of our most effective diplomats in what is arguably among the most challenging postings. He is a man of great principle and insight and while we miss his perspective, we congratulate him on his elevation to the Australian Parliament.

This is a snapshot of a year of progress and achievement, and a history of activism which values people and their aspirations. This was always Project Rozana’s focus and mission.

I commend this Year in Review to you.

Ron Finkel AM, Chair Project Rozana Australia & International



Canadian charitable reg.
#: 73273 1294 RR 0001

16 Highbourne Road, Toronto,
Ontario M5P 2J2, Canada


Canadian charitable reg.
#: 73273 1294 RR 0001

16 Highbourne Road, Toronto,
Ontario M5P 2J2, Canada