History of Neurosurgery in Israel
During the period of World War II, the region of what is now the State of Israel was geographically isolated; so, in 1941, the Hadassah Medical Organization brought Dr. Henry Wigdorson from the U.S.A to head the first department of Neurosurgery at the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. He employed a young General Surgeon, Dr. Aharon Beller, and together they ran the 12-bed unit during the war years. In 1945, after the war ended Dr. Wigdorson returned to the U.S.A. and a few years later Dr. Beller followed to advance his neurosurgical education.
At the start of the War of Independence, Dr. Beller returned to Jerusalem to head the Neurosurgery department at Hadassah Hospital. That same year Prof. Harden Ashkenzai, already a well experienced neurosurgeon in Europe, was smuggled in to Israel, which at that time was under the British Mandate, from a detention camp in Cyprus. Upon his arrival in Israel he established a second neurosurgery ward at Beilinson Medical Center in Petach Tikva, near Tel Aviv (known today as Rabin MC). In 1953, a Department of Neurosurgery was opened at Tel Hashomer Hospital followed by Rambam Hospital, Haifa in 1957, Ichilov Hospital (today Tel-Aviv Souraski MC) in 1964, Soroka Hospital, Beersheva in 1966. Most recently neurosurgery departments were opened in Naharaya Gallil Hospital in 2013 and Shaare HaZedek Hospital, Jerusalem in 2016.
The Israeli Neurosurgical Society
The Israeli Neurosurgical Society (INS) was established over 45 years ago with the purpose of exchanging knowledge and advancing the field of neurosurgery in Israel. The INS acts under the educational Curriculum of The Israel Medical Association (IMA). Since 1973 the Accreditation Council of IMA granted the INS for formal residency programs in Neurosurgery and assessing the basic competencies under the known regulations.
Today the Israeli Neurosurgery Society has over 200 members who meet once a year at the National Congress.
The INS Council members are elected by the full members of the Society. The current President of the Society is Prof. Yigal Shoshan of Hadassah Hospital, Jerusalem; the Secretary is Prof. Mony Benifla of Rambam Hospital, Haifa; and the treasurer is Prof. Rachel Grossman of Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. The INS has a very active Education Committee with about 10 representatives at a time; the role of this Committee is to engage in improving and advancing the specialization of neurosurgery interns in Israel. Parallel to this the Neurosurgical Board Examination Committee consists of 8 senior physicians representing each department in Israel.
The Israel Neurosurgical Society is part of the Israeli Medical Association which is the professional association of the Israeli physicians, representing about 95 percent of the physicians in Israel. The INS has been an active member of the Asian Australian Society of Neurosurgeons (AASNS) for over 10 years and is also a member organization of the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies (EANS) and of the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS).
The annual conference of the Israeli Association of Neurosurgery is usually held in May and is attended by an average of 250 doctors, nurses, researchers, medical and nursing students, and representatives of industry and pharma.