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Healing in the valley of Jezreel

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 29 January 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:295
  1. Simon P Joseph, consultant cardiologist (
  1. St Anthony's Hospital, North Cheam, Surrey

    Any history of the Holy Land will contain many references to the valley of Jezreel. Many battles were fought there when ancient Israel struggled against its enemies. Gideon won a great victory over the Midianites and the Amalekites in the valley, as did Jehu when he overthrew Ahab's dynasty. Deborah, Saul, and Josiah also fought their enemies there and it is said that more battles were fought in this place than anywhere on earth. Unfortunately this trend continues in modern times.

    The Israeli town of Afula is situated in the middle of the valley. A glance at a modern map reveals how close it is to many northern Israeli centres of population and to major towns on the West Bank, including Jenin. Its hospital is called Ha'emek, “The Valley,” a nod to the local geography. The hospital's ethic echoes the local ethnicity—there is a large Israeli Arab population within its catchment area and Nazareth is easily visible from its windows. Like most Israeli hospitals, Ha'emek admits patients of …

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