Augusta Victoria Hospital featured in documentary
By Candice Buchbinder, ELCA News
Augusta Victoria Hospital, located on the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem, is featured in a documentary, “Healing in a Holy Land,” produced by Frakes Productions. Augusta Victoria is a program of The Lutheran World Federation and supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
In August the ELCA provided $100,000 in humanitarian assistance to help support the operation of the healthcare system in the midst of the recent violence in the Middle East. The funds were disbursed through Lutheran Disaster Response to The Lutheran World Federation, a global communion of 144 churches representing more than 72 million Christians in 79 countries. The ELCA is the communion’s only member church from the United States.
During filming this past April, “the situation in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem was relatively quiet. However, the systemic factors which led up to this summer’s violent confrontations were all in place,” said Tim Frakes of Frakes Productions.
Frakes said his team “observed the many checkpoints and physical barriers which prevent Palestinians from moving freely from their homes to places of business to schools and healthcare facilities.
“We also observed the effects of high unemployment in the West Bank and the strong desire on the part of many Palestinian youth to obtain an education and thus create hope for some kind of sustainable employment.”
In his visits with Gaza patients and their families, Frakes had the opportunity to hear personal stories about the siege of Gaza.
“Augusta Victoria Hospital arranges for Gaza patients to come to East Jerusalem, accompanied by one family member,” said Frakes. “(The hospital) houses these families in a modest hotel on the Mount of Olives. During the day, while patients are receiving treatment, family members are not permitted to venture outside the hotel. Doing so subjects them to arrest and imprisonment. Once the treatment, which often takes several days, is complete, the patient and their family member must get back on a bus and return to Gaza.”
“The documentary is designed to present a stark contrast to the images of war and death by holding up tangible evidence of positive work being done on the behalf of ELCA members,” said Frakes. “The Lutheran World Federation Jerusalem’s Augusta Victoria Hospital is truly ‘God’s work. Our hands.’”