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In Search of Hope for Rita

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Midwifery Today, Issue 98, Summer 2011. Subscribe to Midwifery Today Magazine Author’s Note: All names have been changed to protect the privacy of the women whose stories are shared here. In recent years, 20,000 asylum seekers have arrived in Israel from Africa, by way of the Egyptian desert. Many more refugees did not survive the journey, were caught by the Egyptian authorities en route or were turned back from the Israeli border in fear of infiltration by potential terrorists. Eighty-five percent of Israel’s asylum seekers are from Sudan and Eritrea. They flee famine and war in their homelands and set out on a long, difficult and dangerous journey in hope of securing a more promising future for themselves and their children. Many were interned in prison for illegal entry before being granted sanctuary in Israel. The women, as primary caregivers to their families, are not always able to work, certainly not while birthing or during the first few months after childbirth. They are not entitled to social welfare benefits, including the routine prenatal care that Israeli citizens receive, and most have no medical insurance. However, they are provided with basic aid, including medical
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About Author: Gomer Ben Moshe

Gomer Ben Moshe, CNM, MA, works as a hospital midwife in Nazareth, Israel, and teaches women’s health to nursing students at Haifa University. She is a member of a coexistence group of Israeli and Palestinian Midwives of Peace and volunteers with African refugee women to promote women’s health and well-being.

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About Author: Mindy Levy

Mindy Levy, CNM, MA, is a homebirth midwife and the owner of Agoola Birth Center in Beit Lechem Haglilit, Israel. She promotes the empowerment of midwives and mothers by teaching midwives, doulas and childbirth educators about physiological birth. She is a member of a coexistence group of Israeli and Palestinian Midwives of Peace and volunteers with African refugee women to promote women’s health and well-being.

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