deir yassin - Moti Milrod - April 7 2005
Memorial for victims of Deir Yassin massacre, April 7, 2005. Photo by Moti Milrod
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In the invitation to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Kfar Shaul psychiatric hospital, set up on the remains of the village of Deir Yassin, the Arab village is described as such: "In the outskirts of Jerusalem, hidden from sight, the abandoned Arab village of Deir Yassin stands in isolation; a veritable treasure for the health and welfare services seeking housing for the hundreds who require physical and mental healing."

Deir Yassin was the site where members of the Irgun and Lehi paramilitary organizations massacred about 100 villagers.

Under the photograph of one of the "abandoned" stone houses used by the hospital, a caption notes that "a protected 'work village,' was quickly set up, meant for temporary residence, professional training and physical and mental care."

The person signed on the invitation to the event, "Kfar Shaul: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow" - scheduled to take place later this month at the Begin Heritage Center - is Dr. Alexander Teitelbaum, who chairs the Jerusalem branch of the Psychiatric Association in Israel and heads a department at the Kfar Shaul hospital.

Among those scheduled to speak at the event are Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, MK Rachel Adatto (Kadima ), and Dr. Gad Lubin, who heads the mental health division at the Health Ministry.

Not all found the invitation in good taste. In a letter to Teitelbaum, Dr. Yehuda Abramovitch, a department head at the Be'er Yaakov-Nes Tziona Mental Health Center, wrote that he was disturbed that the Deir Yassin massacre was not mentioned. In response, representatives of the hospital administration said that "the hospital decided, upon serious consideration, to be 'smart' and not 'just' in this matter, when it is clear to us all that there will be those who argue against being 'smart' and being 'just.'"

The hospital added that the intention was to celebrate an anniversary for medical education, research and treatment, and this did not require "digging" up old wounds.

Abramovitch told Haaretz that he will not be attending the event because he had plans to be abroad on that day, but even if he were in Israel, he would not take part.

In his letter, Abramovitch wrote that "as mental health experts we seek to broaden awareness among the populations we treat, countering denials, encouraging those seeking our counsel to be brave and take responsibility for their situation. Is it not appropriate, then, on the 60th anniversary of the Kfar Shaul Hospital, to remember the past and pain of the other, and honestly look into our shared past?"