There are many cultural differences between Israel and other countries. Anyone who has had any business interaction here will vouch for that! But did you know that culture also affects your health care? We are not only talking about a language barrier. A visitor to Israel who ends up in the emergency room will undergo an overwhelming, disorienting, truly foreign experience.
The three ways cultural differences may affect your healthcare in Israel:
1.Chutzpah- Israeli chutzpah is world famous. It is how the commandos raided Entebbe and freed the hijacked passengers 40 years ago this week. It is also why other people in an emergency room will think their problem is more important than yours and try to cut ahead of you in line. They are not trying to be rude, they just want to get the job done (a doctor to examine them).
2.Family- Family ties in the Israeli culture run deep. This is a cross-cultural phenomenon among the sub-cultures in Israel. No one comes to the ER or a hospital room alone. Children, cousins, neighbors, friends, parents, aunts, uncles… each patient can be accompanied by many people. When ALL of these people use their Chutzpah (often all at the same time)… you can be sure that they will get attention!
3.Protexia- every tourist needs to learn this word. Israeli society runs on protexia. Protexia loosely means “protection” as in - connections that you have. Israel is a small country, and there are probably 3 degrees of separation (not six) between most of the population. Here in Israel protexia can be ANYONE: family, comrades who served with you in the army, your cousin’s best friend, or even the people you bought your apartment from (true story).*
If you, a tourist or a new immigrant to Israel, enters the ER or hospital… and you do not have either chutzpah, extended family, or protexia, you may be in for a long wait, you may not receive the best medical care available, and you will experience heightened anxiety. If admitted to the hospital for a longer stay, it will grow even more frustrating. Israeli doctors and nurses are excellent… but Israel’s hospitals are the most overcrowded in the developed world (source: Organisation for Economic Co‑operation and Development). Nurses are very overworked and may have little patience or English to explain your situation. It will be challenging to understand what is going on, to communicate to your doctor back home, or even to understand the medication you are being given.
Let EMA Care use a little bit of chutzpah and an endless supply of protexia, to be like your family. We will do our best to assure you optimal care.
*As a new immigrant, a colleague burned her arm badly and rushed to the hospital. She didn’t know where to turn, so she called the previous owner of her new home, knowing that he was a physician. He came immediately, bypassed the ER, and took very good care of her. That is protexia!
EMA Care provides medical concierge, case management, and patient advocacy services to tourists, students and residents of Israel. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
Thank you for the zoom (and all your updates). It was great. I wish the news was like that. Straight forward, factual, unemotional. Bravo to both of you ladies!!
My experience with Ema Care has been so positive that I wanted to share it in case it could help someone else. Eight days ago my daughter, a Shanah Bet student, called to say she wasn’t feeling well and had symptoms of Covid-19. I was put in touch with an Infectious Disease specialist who recommended Ema Care. I reached Dr. Eliana Aaron easily and signed my daughter up. The next morning, Ema Care gave my daughter a telehealth exam and provided her with prescriptions, as well as a list of...
I would like to also add my compliments, you exceeded my already very high expectations. You can certainly send other schools our way for a recommendation.
-Mr. E. Naiman
Dear Dr. Eliana words simply cannot express how much you have done for all of us and so many others in keeping us informed, calming anxieties, and being such a wonderful and patient resource through such a difficult time. Wishing you much bracha and hatzlacha in the merit of all the countless mitzvot u have done to help so many through these trying times; mikol halev, ein milim and thanks so so much .
Gap Year Program Staff
Hello Dr. Aaron. I cannot thank you enough for providing not only crucial information but a framework that gave us stability and allowed us to function (instead of descending into chaos, which undoubtedly would have happened, if not for you). At the risk of waxing dramatic, I will tell you that when I think of what you've done these past couple of months, what comes to mind is Rav Yohanan Ben Zakai asking Vespasian to give him Yavneh ve-Hakhameha, thus saving the entire enterprise of Talmud...