The visit to Israel was the most ambitious to date, and 34 people participated. At the Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopos, there was an unusual morning of presentations and videos, including a history of hospitals in Jerusalem in the 19th century, medical education in Israel and its system of medical care, and stab wounds in the Intifada. A party of French surgical professors was also present. We travelled to Tel Aviv to Base Ten Training Camp (built by the British in the 1930s) where Israeli soldiers learn the basics of medical care – one in ten soldiers received such training, earning them the title of medic.

The 800-bed Harofeh Medical Center was toured. At Tel Aviv University a scientific session of mutual presentations on anal and colorectal disease was held. We also visited the Ophthalmic Hospital of St John, founded in 1960 in East Jerusalem. The opportunity was taken to tour the Holy Land’s historic sites, including Jericho, the Dead Sea, Masada, Qumran (where the Dead Sea scrolls were found) and the Sea of Galilee, where we spent an evening afloat on a dhow which was hurried ashore by police boat as the sky darkened on the Eve of Remembrance.