The ultimate choice
by the Master —, through Benjamin Creme
When mankind sees, at last, the folly of its present fascination with
violence and war, and discards the means to carry out its acts of violence,
it will undergo a remarkable transformation. The first signs of this most
welcome change in human behaviour can be seen in the millions who now march
denouncing war and calling for justice and peace. These demonstrations,
spontaneous and worldwide, are a sure indication that mankind is ready to
renounce the past, and, when properly led, to change direction. This time is
Amid the trauma and stressful conditions of the present, a new vision of the
future is presenting itself to the hearts and minds of millions who, to a
greater or lesser degree, respond. Men are awakening to the necessity of
peace if mankind is to survive. Few there are who doubt this in their
hearts, however much they may be embroiled in war. The stage thus is set for
the ultimate choice before mankind.
To the average onlooker, the world is torn and dominated by those who do not
share the vision of peace, who see only opportunities for wealth and power
in every conflagration. While these are many, the majority of men are tired
of the uselessness of war, and seek strategies to put an end to such folly
for ever. In their hearts burns the hope of a new time of peace and progress
for all. These people, in every country, represent the hope of the world.
It is to them that Maitreya will address Himself on His emergence. It is to
them that He presents the vision of the future, even now. They, in their
many millions, will quickly respond to His advocacy, and set alight the hope
Thus will Maitreya persuade men that further reckless strife is useless and
dangerous. That the problems of today are global and cannot be solved by
war. That co-operation alone will bring men peace and plenty. That only as
brothers, hand in hand, can they enter the new world which awaits their
Thus will men decide, and turn back from the abyss. Thus will they
demonstrate their choice for life and happiness, and, eyes alight with hope,
begin together the task of reconstructing this world.
The time of decision is nigh, almost upon us. Maitreya is ready, eager to
show the way, point the new direction. Millions await His counsel and
inspiration, wisdom and love. Maitreya will vouchsafe the future for all.
(Read more articles by the Master)
Q. Every human being in incarnation has a level of evolution, so there
must exist an average level of evolution for humanity as a whole. What was
it (1) for the year AD 2000, (2) 2,000 years ago, (3) 4,000 years ago?
A. (1) 0.25 (2) 0.01 (3) 0.002.
Q. How long will it be before Maitreya takes up his place as world
ruler? Is there some force opposing him?
A. Firstly, a correction. Maitreya will not take up a post as ‘world ruler’.
He does not come to rule, He comes only to teach and inspire. Humanity must
learn to rule itself under the inspiration of the teachers. The exact timing
of His emergence into world affairs is not written down or known precisely,
even to Maitreya. It depends on the response of humanity to His teachings,
to their readiness to change and to the collapse of the existing economic
structures, which alone will bring us into reality. When these things are
sufficiently advanced Maitreya has said He will assuredly make His presence
known. Even when He first speaks openly on television, He will not use the
name Maitreya, thus giving humanity the opportunity to respond to His call
for sharing, justice and peace through identity with His ideas, rather than
His name or position.
The forces opposing are many and tremendously strong. They are the forces of
age-long greed, selfishness and complacency. They are also the nefarious
forces who for millennia have held humanity in thraldom to these same evils.
However there has never been a Teacher, an Avatar, of such tremendous power.
As Maitreya says: “The end is known from the beginning.” The success of His
mission is assured.
Q. While crosses of light appearing in people’s windows and patterns
of light seen as reflections of windows on buildings or streets have been
confirmed by your Master for a number of years now, reports and photographs
have been coming in recently of patterns of light appearing in people’s
windows, in Japan and the Netherlands. Are these patterns in windows a new
addition to Maitreya’s wonderful array of signs of hope?
Q. Could your Master say whether the photographs exposed in the media
in April 2004, showing American and British soldiers abusing Iraqi
prisoners, are authentic or fakes?
A. My information is that in both cases, the American and British, the
photographs are, sadly, true.
Q. (1) What is Hierarchy’s opinion of the Geneva peace proposal? (2)
Should the Palestinians accept it?
A. (1) It is unfair and unjust to Palestinian rights. (2) Obviously not.
Only a fair and just agreement will last.
Q. In El Salvador the US-backed right-wing candidate Tony Saca easily
won in recent national elections, beating former guerrilla leader Schafik
Handal. The Bush Administration was accused by some of meddling in the
election by publicly backing Saca. Did the CIA actually interfere with the
electoral process? If so, how?
A. Yes. By organizing intimidation of the opposition supporters, and by
bribes of cash for votes. Threats of bad effects on El Salvador/US relations
and trade if the Left were to win the election were made publicly by US
officials before the election. Last month Assistant Secretary of State Roger
Noriega told voters to “consider what kind of a relationship they want a new
Administration to have with us”.
This prompted 28 members of Congress to send a letter to Secretary of State
Colin Powell warning that Noriega’s remarks were perceived as “interference
in Salvadoran electoral affairs”.
One of the signatories to the letter, Dennis Kucinich, said: “Unfortunately,
what is going on in El Salvador is representative of a Latin American policy
that is not about promoting healthy democracies, but instead focused on
making Latin American nations bend to US commercial interests.”
Q. Is it acceptable for officials in one country to be crafting
advisory documents for other countries? In 1996 Richard Perle (chairman of
the Defense Policy Board, which advises the Pentagon) led a team which
drafted an advisory document for the then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
of Israel, entitled A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm —
by which was meant Israel. In the document Netanyahu was advised to repeal
the Oslo Agreement and “reassert Israel’s claim to its land by rejecting
‘land for peace’ as the basis for peace”. He was also encouraged to
strengthen defense so as to be able to confront Syria and Iraq, to build
closer links with the USA for mutual interest, and, together with Turkey and
Jordan, be able to weaken Syria. The document also stated: “This effort can
focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli
strategic objective in its own right …” The document also called for the
“re-establishing of the principle of pre-emption”. (Source of quote and
information: Secrets and Lies, by Dilip Hiro.) (1) Does this bear out your
information that the idea of pre-emptive strikes far pre-dated the attack on
Iraq? (2) How closely is the US Administration involved in Israeli policy
A. (1) Yes, indeed. The Six-Day War of 1967, launched by Israel against
Jordan, Syria and Egypt, was a ‘pre-emptive strike’. Actually, none of these
countries was in a position to attack Israel except, perhaps, Egypt — the
only one with whom Israel has signed a peace accord. (2) Very closely. Hence
the ability of Israel to flout the United Nations resolutions against her.
The US uses the veto to protect Israel.
(More questions and answers)
Letters to the
Over a number of years, some of the Masters, in particular Maitreya and the
Master Jesus, have appeared, in different guises, to large numbers of people around the world.
They also appear at Benjamin Creme's lectures and meditations, giving people in the audience the
opportunity to intuitively recognise Them. Some people recount their experiences to Share
International magazine. If the encounters are authenticated by Benjamin Creme's Master, the
letters are published. These experiences are given to inspire, to guide or teach, often to heal
and uplift. Very often, too, the Masters draw attention to, or comment on, in an amusing way,
some fixed intolerance (for example against smoking or drinking). Many times They act as saving
'angels' in accidents, during wartime, earthquakes and other disasters. The following letters,
previously published in Share International magazine, are examples of this means of
communication by the Masters.
Power of prayer
A very dear friend named Toby Hale O’Brien was diagnosed with cancer and
given two years to live. In setting about the business of her last years,
she took a trip with her son. While she was in Canada, she was hurting a
great deal. She went into a church called St Anne’s and prayed. She stated
that her prayer was just to allow her to get through the trip with her son,
and then she would be ready to make the transition. She prayed that she
would not have pain in order to be able to complete the trip. She states
that the very next day she was pain free.
She also states that when she came back home and had the doctors examine
her, the tumour under her arm was completely gone. This baffled the doctors
who knew she did not have much time left, but they termed it a spontaneous
It is my belief that Toby was healed as a result of her prayer at St Anne’s
Church. Could you tell me if this was a miracle and who healed her?
VC, Los Angeles, USA.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the ‘spontaneous remission’ was a
miracle cure by the Master Jesus.)
In March 1999, my son rang unexpectedly to ask if I would meet him at the
nearby Burnside Village Shopping Centre to give him a few articles he
needed. When I parked the car, I noticed two young teenage women sitting on
the pavement, which seemed unusual. They had a quilt on their lap, were
smoking and seemed to be very happily chatting. I noticed whilst sitting in
the car that I had a lovely warm feeling in my heart. A few minutes later my
son arrived and pulled up in a car directly in front of these two young
women. As the car drove off, I was left standing in front of them. The
youngest one with red hair asked if I had the time. As I had rushed out of
the house I hadn’t put on my watch. I said that I had a clock in the car and
would let them know. I called out the time to them when I got back into my
car, and they said thank you and waved. As soon as I drove off I began to
cry. I felt deeply moved by the experience of the interaction with these two
young women. I felt overwhelmed and touched by the experience and felt a
healing had taken place. Over the previous few days I had been feeling a
sense of aloneness on the spiritual path. I was wondering if this might have
been an experience of Maitreya or the Masters.
LF, Adelaide, South Australia.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the two ‘young women’ were
Maitreya and the Master Jesus.)
I had recently stopped attending Transmission Meditation for two months
partly due to a loss of faith. During this time, I was dealing with a lot of
devastating attacks on myself, due to misunderstandings at my church. I had
been praying for protection and reassurance.
On 3 January 1999, during the evening service at church, a man of unusual
height and very black hair suddenly sat down beside me. He chose to sit
quite close with his knees turned in towards me. There was something unusual
about him; I felt very at ease and protected. He seemed unusually harmless,
at ease, poised and sincerely humble. I noticed a junior pastor beamed when
he saw him. The man stayed for maybe 12 minutes, then excused himself very
politely and caringly. I regret not looking into his face.
My heart keeps saying this was no ordinary stranger. I have returned to
EB, London, Ontario, Canada.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the ‘stranger’ was Maitreya.)
On Wednesday 10 March 2004 I was walking towards the bus-stop. The bus was
approaching but as I am elderly I couldn’t run to catch it. Suddenly I
looked up and saw a young man who immediately flagged down the bus for me.
As I looked at him when I got on the bus he appeared to have very light
vibrations. At this point he said to me: “Don’t forget to thank the bus
Was this lovely young man Jesus or Maitreya?
BJ, Erdington, UK.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the ‘young man’ was Maitreya.)
What’s in a name
One Friday in March 2004 just before the lecture weekend with Benjamin Creme
in Berne, my daughter Anne-Sophie and I took the train to Waedenswill to do
some shopping. On our way back, on the platform at the railway station in
Waedenswill, a tall elderly man with a beard, no upper front teeth but with
sparkling eyes, stood there holding a big brown paper bag. While we passed
by, he first said to Anne-Sophie: “Hello Anne,” and then to me: “Hello
Maria.” I just walked on and then it occurred to me, how can a stranger know
part of our names? My name is actually Marianne. So I went back to this man
and asked him, why does he think my name is Maria? He looked at me and
answered that I look like a Maria. Then I asked him why he was waiting here.
He replied, to catch a train. After this encounter I felt very happy. Did I
meet the Master Jesus?
MC Gischig, Richterswil, Switzerland.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the man was Maitreya.)
Seeing eye to eye
In 1999 our group held a presentation of the video ‘Breaking the Biggest
Story in History’ at the local library, followed by our regular monthly
public ‘Introduction to Transmission Meditation’ workshop. Amongst the
audience were a couple in their sixties. I noticed that the man sat
listening carefully, while the woman smiled most of the time. Afterwards, I
noticed the man staring into my eyes intently. “Well, I can stare back, you
know,” I thought to myself. So I did. I quickly realized that staring into
his eyes was rather difficult.
To break the ice I started talking to him. His name was Kim. I asked him
what he thought about the meditation. He said that he too teaches
meditation. He was of German origin. As we were talking, I noticed that in
contrast to the particular staring look which he had, and which could be
easily mistaken for being aggressive, Kim was particularly calm in his
speech and manner.
I began to wonder whether it was indeed Maitreya. When the couple were
leaving I asked Kim if he would like to join our mailing list. He answered:
“Not at this stage. I did enjoy the afternoon though.” They came up and
stood between my wife and myself and looked at us with a big smile. All
three of us stood there smiling as if we were sharing a certain
understanding. Then Kim took me by the shoulder and said: “I am convinced
that you are doing a good job.” As he was holding my shoulder I felt
momentarily a wave of love sweeping through my body.
Were the pair Maitreya and the Master Jesus? Did they give a blessing to the
group? The group dynamics seem to have improved.
IM, Melbourne, Australia.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that ‘Kim’ was Maitreya and the ‘woman’
was the Master Jesus. Yes, a blessing was given to the group.)
In March 1999 I entered a subway station on the Upper West Side of New York
City. I had been going through a very hard time and was under a lot of
stress. There was a man there singing for ‘donations’ as he had a cup out
for money in front of him. He was black and appeared to be in his thirties.
I took no notice of him until I realized that he was singing the song
‘Smile’ (“Smile though your heart is breaking, Smile even though it’s aching
...”). I thought, gee, that’s a strange song for someone to be singing for
coins in the subway. And then it occurred to me: “Great. It’s Maitreya and
he’s mocking me.” After that, he started to sing ‘The Girl from Ipanema’. He
sounded exactly like Johnny Mathis. At this point the train was pulling into
the station. I got on and, as I always do, stood near the door. The man
looked at me, smiled and gave me a little wave. The doors closed and the
train took off. Could he have been Maitreya?
JP, New York, USA.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the man was, indeed, Maitreya).
SIGNS OF THE TIME:
Dutch beach resort bathes in circles of light
Circles of light appearing in the windows of the house of an artist in
the Dutch beach resort of Egmond were described by locals as a “blessing”.
The circles of light were first discovered by a group member who is involved
in Transmission Meditation work. The new light phenomenon is a variation of
earlier signs of Maitreya’s presence — crosses of light which have been
appearing in windows since 1988 combined with circles of light reflecting on
buildings from windows, first discovered in 1997.
A journalist from the regional newspaper Noordhollands Dagblad reports how
the photographer and he waited until after sunset before the circles’ full
radiance could be seen. He reports that it is “as if a large projector in
the vicinity of the house” is projecting the orange-coloured circles of
light, but there are no external light sources that could explain the
phenomenon. (Sources: Noordhollands Dagblad, the Netherlands)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms this to be an “Easter Blessing” manifested
Image of face discovered on reverse of Turin Shroud
Italian scientists have discovered an image of a man’s face on the back
of the Turin Shroud that matches the image on the front of the cloth.
The reverse side of the Shroud remained hidden since being covered by
another layer of fabric in 1534, after the Shroud was blackened in a fire.
The backing was removed for the first time in 2002 when the Shroud was
restored. To the unaided eye, the back surface of the Shroud showed almost
nothing, apart from a unique stitching that Mechtild Flury-Lemberg, the
Swiss textile expert who performed the restoration work, identified as a
style seen in the first century AD or before.
At the time of the restoration in 2002, the back surface was photographed in
detail by Monsignor Giuseppe Ghiberti, and the photographs published in a
book. Giulio Fanti, professor of Mechanical and Thermic Measurements at
Padua University, said: “As I saw the pictures in the book, I was caught by
the perception of a faint image on the back surface of the Shroud. I thought
that perhaps there was much more that wasn’t visible to the naked eye.”
Fanti and fellow professor Roberto Maggiolo studied the photographs and used
mathematical and optical techniques to process the images. These
sophisticated image-processing methods revealed the image of a man’s face on
the back surface. The image on the reverse side matches the one on the front
in form, size and position. Fanti said: “Though the image is very faint,
features such as nose, eyes, hair, beard and moustache are clearly visible.”
The image-processing did not reveal the full body image as it appears on the
front side, only the face, and probably the hands.
According to Fanti: “On both sides, the face image is superficial, involving
only the outermost linen fibres. When a cross-section of the fabric is made,
one extremely superficial image appears above and one below, but there is
nothing in the middle. It is extremely difficult to make a fake with these
features.” (Source: Discovery News, USA; Reuters, UK)
The Turin Shroud — Benjamin Creme’s information
“I personally believe that [the Turin Shroud] is absolutely authentic,
that it is the shroud in which the body of Jesus was wrapped after the
crucifixion. The image on it was deposited intentionally and left there for
future generations to hold to the reality of resurrection, because that is
what the gospel story is about. The gospel story is not about crucifixion.
It is about resurrection … The interesting thing about the Shroud, from my
point of view, is how the image was made.
“The Christ resurrected the body of the Disciple Jesus. When the body was
laid in the tomb, the consciousness of the Christ, Maitreya, once again
entered into the body of the Disciple Jesus and brought it back to life; not
only that, but also Resurrected it. He shook loose, by the down-flow of
tremendous spiritual energy into the now dead body of Jesus, the atomic
particles of matter, reconstituted these, and brought into that body matter
of sub-atomic vibrational rate, that is, matter which is literally light.
The effect of that on the body was one of intense radiation and it was that
radiation which produced what is called an ionisation effect of the image on
“There is a process in photography called ionisation. When a photographer
wants to transfer a negative image to a positive image, or vice versa, he
takes the plate and puts it under very high frequency rays — usually X-rays.
The effect of this high-frequency ray bombardment is to ionise the plate so
that when it is developed you get the opposite of what you would expect to
find. Whatever should be light becomes dark, and whatever should be dark
becomes light. The high spiritual down-flow from the Christ into the body of
the Disciple Jesus caused the ionisation effect and produced a negative on
the Shroud — and in this way it is, as it were, scorched on to the Shroud,
but only on the surface.
“It is exact, in a way that no photograph could be, and it appeared whether
the Shroud touched the body or not. It was an ionisation of all aspects of
the body, with the wounds and the blood and everything else. So you get an
exact facsimile which the space scientists in America have been able to
reproduce as a three-dimensional image on the computer. It obeys exactly the
three-dimensional laws, and its coming to light now in this exact scientific
manner is one of the signs that the Christ is in the world, although His
coming into the world is not dependent on that sign.”
(From: The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom, Tara
What happened to the Shroud after Jesus died?
“[Immediately after Jesus’ death the Shroud] was retrieved from the tomb
in which Jesus had been laid by three of His immediate followers and hidden
for two years. Subsequently, it was shown, irregularly, to Christian
pilgrims to Jerusalem. In the 6th century it was fairly well-known as the
authentic burial shroud of Jesus, and a holy relic.”
(Share International, January/February 1998)
Impossible to fake
“Every computerization analysis of the figure on the Shroud has shown it
to be 100 per cent accurate from every anatomical point of view, something
highly unlikely if drawn by hand. The most conclusive proof that it is not a
fake is this: it is a photograph, something quite unknown in the 13th
“Furthermore, it is a negative photograph, something that no ‘faker’ could
conceive of at that time. Only when it was photographed in the late 19th
century was it realized to be a negative, the result of an ionisation
process known and used today for the first time. The energy to produce the
‘ionisation’ effect was given by Maitreya’s re-entry into the dead body of
Jesus in the tomb. Nothing else could have produced that effect.”
(Share International, October 1988)
Weighing up the evidence
Commenting on the carbon dating findings of three scientific groups
reported in Nature magazine on 16 February 1989:
“I am informed that the three groups dated their samples as from the 6th
century AD, the 12th century and the 14th century, respectively. Discarding
the 6th century result (as being too distant from the other two), they split
the difference between these two and settled for the 13th century. Not, I
suggest, either a logical or scientific method of approach.
“A more logical — but still unscientific — result would have been reached by
taking the average of all three findings, namely the 11th century. If, as I
am informed, the present carbon-dating methods have a margin of error of
800-2,000 years, then one must ‘argue with the methodology of carbon-14
dating’. It is simply not accurate enough to be conclusive evidence of
dating, and all three dates fit comfortably within the margin of error.
Nothing is proved by this test one way or the other.
“It has been suggested that the (spiritual) radiation assumed to impregnate
the Shroud might have had some distorting influence on the carbon-14 tests,
but I am informed that this is not the case. The testing technique itself is
at fault. No one has ever proved (nor will be able to prove) how the image
on the Shroud could have been faked — painted or drawn or somehow impressed
by hand. It defies all such analysis and theories, and shows an awareness of
the practical technique of crucifixion (for example, the nails are clearly
seen through the wrist and ankle bones and not — as depicted in every
religious painting to this day — through the hands and feet).
“There is no doubt in my mind — nor, I would have thought, in the mind of
any unbiased, objective observer who had really studied all the evidence —
that this is the burial shroud of a crucified man. Crucifixion was a Roman
form of execution and did not, thankfully, outlive the Roman era. This
means, does it not, that the Shroud must be no more recent than the 4th
century AD, a far cry from the Middle Ages.
“If we accept that the Shroud is of a man crucified in Roman fashion, the
question arises: why is this the only one of its kind? Many thousands were
crucified by the Romans, and the bodies of many would have been wrapped in
some kind of shroud. Why is this the only one to survive to the 20th
century? I suggest it is precisely because of its unique image and unique
origin. Because it is a photograph, a record of Resurrection.
“This matter will soon be cleared up once and for all, no doubt to the
consternation of the sceptics and the scientists who use unscientific
methods to prove their bias. The Master Jesus will claim it as His own.”
(Share International, December 1989)
FROM MAITREYA, 15 April 2004
On 15 April Benjamin Creme gave an extensive interview on the radio
programme Ici et Maintenant. At its close, Maitreya gave a blessing and
released an inspiring message. Mr Creme later said that the message was
particularly directed at the French public and the French mentality.
My Friends, I am not far from your lives.
Every thought and every aspiration finds its recognition in Me.
Look for Me as a simple man with answers to your profound and difficult
Search your hearts for the ways of love and make them manifest.
I have come into your lives not too soon, not too late, but timely.
Look for Me, then, in the immediate future, and if I touch your hearts,
HUMAN RIGHTS — an international language
Dr Wiener is a family physician, psychiatrist and psychotherapist. He
directs the Community Programmes at the Cohen-Harris Centre for Trauma and
Disaster in Tel Aviv, instructs primary care professionals in Community
Psychiatry, and consults with the city's emergency treatment system of
mental trauma, which operates at the scene of violent incidents, including
suicide bombings. He has been involved with projects offering medical aid to
Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, defending the rights of prisoners
in Israeli asylums and has participated in an international team proposing
guidelines for health professionals in dual-loyalty situations. He is also a
member of Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHR). He graduated from the
Sackler School of Medicine in Tel Aviv.
Felicity Eliot interviewed him for Share International.
Share International: Could you explain what a "community programme" is
with regard to trauma and disaster?
Ze’ev Wiener: Trauma and disaster have psychological implications not only
for the individuals involved, but also for the community as a whole. Among
these are a lack of confidence in the establishment, a weakening and
‘regression’ of democratic values, a feeling of loss of solidarity, trust
and growing despair. Therefore a traumatized community needs therapy itself
just as much as individual victims. More than that, the cohesiveness of the
community is a powerful factor determining psychological resilience and so,
when taking preventative measures with regard to traumatic events, the
community as a whole has a significant role to play. The community itself
should be a major focus of efforts to strengthen it and enhance its
SI: How would you describe the community centre for trauma treatment?
Are your doors open to all?
ZW: The Hosen (‘resilience’ in Hebrew) trauma centre in Tel Aviv is located
in the community with three branches in various parts of the city.
Multidisciplinary teams consisting of psychiatrists, social workers and
psychologists screen the population, especially those who have witnessed or
survived a traumatic event, like suicide bombing. After the screening
process those who show signs of functional disability receive a multi-modal
psychological therapy (in other words for the individual, the group and the
family) which is generally short-term. They also receive social support.
Those who fail to respond to the initial therapeutic process are transferred
to a higher specialized centre which is also a part of the Hosen system.
There they receive advanced therapy and care.
The professional staff also operates a community programme to enhance
community resilience in collaboration with the educational system, the
primary healthcare system, the municipal welfare system and other social
services in the community.
SI: You work primarily as a psychiatrist, but does the centre also
have medical staff to deal with physical injury in cases where there is
ZW: Firstly, as a psychiatrist I’m a medical doctor so I have some knowledge
about physical injuries especially because I was also a general practitioner
and dealt with family care and treatment. Secondly, we work in full
collaboration with hospitals in the area and the primary care system. Those
of our patients who were physically wounded have already been discharged
from hospitals and are beyond an acute physical state of injury. Some of
them are handicapped. We treat the mental injury but with close reference to
the physical one and in co-operation with the other relevant medical
SI: How does one heal people from emotional trauma in a situation
can only imagine, must be fraught with fear and tension?
ZW: My patients and myself are, as a matter of fact, in the same danger of
being victims of a suicide bomber. It was the same during the first Gulf War
in 1991, where all of us were under the Iraqi missiles attacks. Of course,
it is not the ideal situation, but as a professional I’m supposed to have
the tools to confront and handle my own fears and not let them interfere in
Obviously outside of my work I’m just like everybody else and I receive help
from my own support systems (family, friends, work) to overcome my fears.
The Hosen system has also a unit devoted to supporting the professional
teams. It consists of experienced, highly specialized mental-health
professionals that work closely with the teams, intervene to give them
psychological support and follow them up just in case they need further
Treating people under ongoing traumatic process as opposed to single-event
trauma is quite different and has received less attention in the medical
world. It has not been investigated to any great extent in the professional
literature. It requires different theory and we need to develop new
approaches to analyse and investigate long-term trauma. The main element in
such a protracted situation is that of community resilience which is a
crucial factor during a chronic traumatization process.
SI: Do you treat many traumatized children? What kinds of
trauma do you encounter in general?
ZW: Children have specific reactions after being exposed to traumatic
events. Their reactions are exhibited mainly through the way they play and
their school habits (learning, socializing). The professional mental health
system should work closely with parents and teachers as they are the ones
who are most aware of any disturbance in the child’s psychological state. It
is they who will serve as crucial therapeutic agents in cases where their
help is needed.
SI: Could you please say something about the work of the PHR?
ZW: PHR is a 16-year-old non-governmental organization that consists of a
few staff members and a few hundred professional health volunteers, mainly
physicians. The aim of the organization is to protect the right to health
for everyone in need.
We have a number of projects:
— helping Palestinians to overcome roadblocks on the way to medical
— helping Palestinians who need special medical treatment that is
unavailable to them to receive it in Israeli hospitals;
— mobile clinics of Israeli physicians go to the West Bank offering medical
— Palestinian-Israeli collaboration of health professionals (workshops,
— prisoners’ health;
— open clinics for working immigrants without medical cover;
— advocacy for health rights of deprived Israeli sub-populations and others.
SI: You work with both Israelis and Palestinians. Do you see your work as
part of the necessary process of bridge-building?
ZW: My work with Israelis as well as with Palestinians is based on my
professional norms and the Hippocratic oath to give every suffering human
being the best professional care I can. I don’t think that physicians will
bring peace. This issue is up to politicians and the results, I admit, are
sad. Yet, physicians can alleviate the sorrow and pain caused by conflict,
especially to innocent civilians. That is what I’m doing and hopefully it
will have a knock-on positive effect for any future agreements between both
SI: How are your efforts viewed by both sides? Are both communities
ZW: I live in a democratic society so, naturally, not everyone agrees with
my activities in PHR and especially with Palestinians. Some people have hard
feelings based on experience of terrorist bombing and the ongoing conflict,
so they have difficulty in supporting my activities and those of the PHR.
Yet, at the same time, no official or organized obstacle is put in my way to
prevent me from doing what I do.
As for my Palestinian patients I’m welcomed most of the time. Of course,
there are more than a few who will refuse to be treated by an Israeli doctor
because of understandable hard feelings they have because of the occupation.
But, in general, people are people and in times of need they will accept any
physician who shows goodwill, care and professional standards.
SI: I must ask this: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one which
tests the strength and sanity of most people in the region. In a sense
surely everyone is a little out of touch with reality? Without wishing to
belittle or denigrate your work and all other positive efforts to bring some
humanity to the crisis there, how can one speak of healing when the life
circumstances of both peoples is insane?
ZW: One way to be out of touch with reality is termed by professionals
“dissociation”. To a certain extent this psychological process serves as a
defence mechanism against emotional pain. But beyond that there is the
danger of being detached from reality, that distorts the ability to see the
picture as a whole, to predict the outcome of certain actions, to plan the
future and to be open-minded to creative solutions. I think that both
societies are going through this process, which also has sad domestic
implications for the infrastructure of the society as well as on external
Modern medicine doesn’t only deal with cure or disease, life or death. That
dichotomy belongs to the past. We have now many chronic diseases that the
medical world has to treat, as well as their impact on people lives, yet
there is no effort to try to exterminate the causes. The same goes for
mental trauma. The causes — the occupation and the suicide bombing — are
beyond physicians’ ability to stop. So we try to alleviate pain and enhance
functioning of the victims, parallel to strengthening individual and
community resilience and offering tools to face the stress.
SI: So how does the therapy work? How does one help in such awful
ZW: It works like any other psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy for mental
disorders or psychological problems. The question is a professional
scientific one that is at the heart of psychology and psychiatry. Luckily,
most of the people exposed to traumatic events do not need help and will
recover with the aid of their own resources. Most of those who will need
mental care will value it, if it is given at the right time and in the right
SI: Your work is obviously absolutely vital. Are you involved in other
peace-making, negotiating work?
ZW: Personally, I’m a very bad politician so I think the world will benefit
from me not being involved in the peace-making processes. But, of course, I
have my own political opinion and attitudes that I express once in every
four years by voting. From time to time I take part in demonstrations that
support stopping the occupation and suicide bombing and call for reaching a
just agreement that will enable both nations to live safely in independent
It is important to receive support and help for any humanistic activity,
wherever it is, because we all need more encouragement. But that support
should be given out loud and should be visible. People shouldn’t be afraid
of expressing their opinions in general and those based on human rights
principles in particular. The language of human rights should be
international and spoken clearly so as many people as possible will learn to
speak this language and base their morals and behaviour on respect for the
SI: Is your work making a difference? What do people say to you?
ZW: As I mentioned, my work does not bring international or even national
peace. It helps many individuals, families and small communities and for me
it is important enough. We have a saying in Hebrew, taken from Jewish
tradition: “If you save one soul, it is as if you saved the whole world.”
But as mentioned, I think our efforts help to maintain a very delicate and
vulnerable bridge between both nations that will serve us in the future as a
steady base for co-operation.