I am understandably sensitive whenever I hear the name Rahav mentioned. When someone writes something online about Rani Rahav, it jumps out at me more than at you. Well, in recent weeks it’s not been Rani, but Galia. The amount of dirt thrown at her has just been unbelievable. Her daughter even registered a complaint with the police because of the invective published against her on social media — which accuse her of Nazism because of her fight against the coronavirus.
We’re not talking about a politician (for some reason we have become used to the curses they absorb) or a scandal-savvy reality star. Rahav is the Director of the Infectious Diseases Unit at Sheba Hospital. She became known for her standing at the head of Israel’s battle against Corona. The words “Hitler,” “Mengele,” and “Selection,” hurled at her so many times, are not appropriate, irrespective of her personal story.
Yet, perhaps it is worthwhile to tell her parents’ story:
Rahav is the daughter of Yosef and Sonia Rakover. Her father was born in Poland and studied medicine. During the Second World War, he joined the partisans and even set up the central partisan hospital in the forests of Lipiczan. Rakover was then married to Zigrid, also a doctor, and the father of a son.
The couple had kept some morphine for themselves, in case of emergency. One day, while Yosef was searching for the next hiding place, the Nazis arrived at their house. The terrified Zigrid injected herself and her son with morphine. When Rakover returned and found them dead, he injected himself with the remaining drug, but it was not enough to kill him and he just lost consciousness. Nevertheless, he was moved – considered dead – to a nearby mass grave, together with his wife and son.
His partisan friends, who found him among the pile of corpses, discovered he had a pulse and was breathing, and they managed to save him. Rakover stayed with them, and there, among them, he got to know Sonia, a nurse, who herself had lost her first husband and son.
They made aliyah and settled in Jerusalem, and in 1954 a daughter was born. Galia. One can only imagine what they both felt – a couple who had been married and parents and lost it all when they began everything anew here together.
So when people fling “Nazi” at Galia, I hope she doesn’t become too emotional, but thinks about who will give these responders a short history lesson.
It’s not only Holocaust and Corona denial though. It could be also latent chauvinism. I think Galia Rahav is taking more bombardment than Prof. Gal Rahav. It also seems to me that Prof. Sigal Sidetzky is on the receiving end of these attacks much more than Prof. Chezi Levy, and Dr. Sharon Elroi-Preiss ‘merits’ far more ridicule, derision and invective than Prof. Nachman Ash.
So maybe we need to state the obvious here, the simple and the crystal clear. If there are those who make so much noise, we must remind ourselves that the vast majority of the public are appreciative of the critical work Prof. Rahav and her male and female colleagues are doing at this time.
Perhaps that’s banal and not viral, but it’s true.