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World Medical Association

Professor Leonid Eidelman Elected President of the WMA

Professor Leonid Eidelman, president of the Israeli Medical Association, has been elected president of the World Medical Association (WMA), an umbrella body representing national medical associations with more than nine million members around the world. Representatives of the WMA gathered last weekend in Chicago for the organization’s annual meeting, during which elections were held for its next president. Eidelman received more than two-thirds of the votes and will take office a year from now.

Eidelman, 65, will succeed Japan’s Dr. Yoshitake Yokokura to lead the WMA beginning in October 2018. He has served as President of the Israeli Medical Association since 2009. He is a specialist in intensive care and anaesthesia and manages the anaesthesiology department at the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva, in addition to his role as Professor of Anaesthesiology and intensive care medicine at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University. He immigrated to Israel from Riga, Latvia in 1987.

Eidelman’s election comes at a time that international organizations have come under pressure from pro-Palestinian Authority groups to expel Israel, including a 2016 attempt to kick Israel out of the WMA for allegedly “torturing” Arab patients. In a statement, Eidelman noted that the ongoing attempts to boycott Israel’s medical establishment gives the election added significance.

“The fact that an Israeli doctor was elected to the most prestigious role in the world of medicine, with a great deal of influence on the most important decisions regarding the behavior of doctors . . . is very significant.”

Professor Eidelman is also a prominent authority in the area of medical ethics in Israel, and has spoken out frequently against the force-feeding of hunger striking security prisoners from the Palestinian Authority.