By Jill Abel
Israel Partnership Director



Two Jacksonville physicians, Steve Porter and Jeff Sapolsky, have just returned home from the Israel Partnership Physicians Delegation. While in Israel, Dr. Porter and Dr. Sapolsky had the opportunity to see hospital trauma centers up close and work side-by-side with physicians from the Hadera-Eiron Region.


Dr. Sapolsky shared, “The first thing that stands out is how warm and welcoming all of the Israeli hospitals, physicians, and staff were. From the welcoming dinner right from the airport to the tours of the hospital and the home hospitality, we not only got a great feel for the practice of medicine in Israel, but we got to live and see Israel like natives. Physicians and Administrators took time from their busy schedules to not only educate us on medicine in Israel, but to also tour with us. It definitely forged bonds between us.”


The Physicians Delegation was comprised of nine doctors from our Israel Partnership Southeast Consortium – the doctors came from Richmond, Charlotte, Nashville, Chattanooga and Jacksonville. Each doctor was matched up with a doctor from their similar specialty in the Hadera-Eiron Region and spent time in operating rooms, learning techniques and sharing insights about practicing medicine with each other.  


Dr. Sapolsky also shared, “It was very interesting seeing how the hospitals operate under a constant concern for attacks. The Emergency Departments are built as blast centers, and there is a “shadow” hospital built underground allowing for vital functions to continue even during battle. Unfortunately, they have also had to become very adept at treating multiple patients during mass casualty events. They practice drills much more frequently than we do in the U.S., and have refined their processes under real world conditions.” 


In addition to time spent at the Hillel-Yoffe Hospital in our Partnership Region, the doctors visited Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem and the Western Galilee Hospital up near the Syrian border. They toured in Jerusalem and in the north to sites including the Western Wall, Machane Yehude market, Rosh Hanikra, and Zikron Ya’akov. They managed to make time for a wine tasting at Kishor Vineyard, a Happy Hour at a local Pardes-Hana spot called Jems, and a Friday exploring in Tel Aviv. They closed the week out with a Shabbat experience with their host families in the region.
For Dr. Porter, it was his first time visiting Israel. He shared many observations about his experiences… “Rosh Hanikra has the shortest and steepest cable car in the history of mankind” …and he added that “snacks in the Doctors’ Lounge in Israel consist of cucumbers and tomatoes while here in the US we have processed garbage!”


Both doctors shared that this trip was a great introduction to what this partnership could potentially be and that they both hope to build on what was started on the Physicians Delegation 2019.


For more information on Israel Partnership Programs or future medical delegations, please contact Jill Abel at