THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release December 13, 1999
REMARKS OF FIRST LADY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON
AT MOTHER AND CHILD PAVILION
HADASSAH UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER
MRS. CLINTON: I am very honored to be here and I want to thank Marlene Post for coming to be with Sara and me when we were able to make this visit. It is such an extraordinary example of the partnership between our two countries that I am privileged to be able to see for myself. When Sara and I were doing our very brief visit upstairs to the children and their families on the Oncology Ward, I felt, as she just expressed, the way that I think any person who has a concern about her own children and concern about any child would feel. But I was especially impressed as I went in and out of the rooms. In one room, there was a Jewish family, an orthodox Jewish family, on one side of the room and an Arab family on the other, and in another room, an Ethiopian family. Everything I have heard about Hadassah was really crystallized for me in those visions that I had of what you do and what you have done for so many years.
I want to thank all who are part of this great enterprise, starting of course with the Director General, but the entire staff, the physicians, the nurses, the technicians, the people who are really on the front lines of caring for the adults and children who seek help here. I think it really is in keeping with what Hadassah's founders wanted more than 85 years ago, when two nurses were sent here to help improve public health and particularly pre-natal care. I know that generations of Hadassah members have been very proud of Hadassah's commitment to this hospital, this medical center, and I am grateful that you have carried on the work that has been so important to so many people over so many years. You know, when we are in a hospital like this, it really strips us down to our common humanity in a very obvious way. There is no difference in a family worried about a child with cancer, no matter where that child comes from, what beliefs those parents might have. As you have taken care of the generations of people who walk through these doors, you have been, as Marlene said, building a bridge to peace by treating individuals as they are, not asking the questions: How do you worship? Do you celebrate Hanukkah, or Christmas or Ramadan? Where do you live? Who are your people? But instead: What is wrong and how can we help? It is, of course, far too simplistic to generalize from a hospital devoted to healing to all of the issues that we confront in this region of the world. But I think there is a lesson here, a lesson of how people come together and, with a commitment to doing a particular job, really do so much more than that in the way that you reach and touch all people. You are healing. You are building bridges of peace. You are making it possible for all of us to say, if it can work there, or at Neve Shalom, where I just came from, where children go to school together, where families live together, what more must we do to build trust? What more must we do to create a sense of security, both psychological and physical? What more must we do to try to build the kind of secure peace that everyone is hoping and praying for?
So, I am very pleased that I could come. I must say that Hadassah's work in our country is so well-known and its commitment to this medical center is among the crown jewels in the work of Hadassah. So, let me thank you for what you have done for so long. Thank you for what you are doing today and I particularly want to thank you for sending physicians and nurses to Kenya after the Embassy bombing there and helping to tend to the Americans and the Kenyans who were in need of your particular expertise. In our visit to Neve Shalom with Sara, I ended my remarks there, and I will end them the same way here because I feel the same way. You know, President Kennedy once said, on this earth, God's work is our own. Well, every time I come into a hospital, particularly a children's hospital, I feel like those of you with the skills and the education and the dedication are doing God's work. But, I particularly feel it here today. The stories, the countless stories I have heard about organ transplants for Jews and Arabs and Christians being transplanted into someone from a different faith. We could very well say that you are truly doing God's work by making us all recognize our common humanity. And may you be written into the Book of Life. And may you have a great and positive future in continuing this work and may it not only serve as an example of excellent medical care, but may it also serve as an example of great humanitarian care and peace building as well.
Thank you very much.