Doctors and Parents in Children's Wards: Tel-Hashomer Hospital's Unrestricted Visitations in 1950s' Israel

Ella Ayalon, Nurit Kirsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we explore the acceptance of parents into children's wards in Tel-Hashomer Hospital, an important foundation of Israel's health system. In 1953, Tel-Hashomer was the first hospital in Israel to conduct an experimental programme of minimum separation between children and their parents, influenced by the theory of British psychoanalyst and psychiatrist John Bowlby. Tel-Hashomer medical staff encouraged parents to stay long hours near the bedsides of their daughters and sons, which led to a notable change in the ward's daily routine. Eventually, parents became an inseparable part of the ward. This tendency to embrace and welcome parents into the wards was especially surprising when one considers that many of these parents were of Mizrahi origin and suffered an orientalist, racialised stigma of unfit parenting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-283
Number of pages21
JournalSocial History of Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 May 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (grant no. 1258/18) and by the Open University Research Authority, to whom thanks are also due. We are deeply grateful to Dr. Ari Barell who allowed us access to valuable documents from Chaim Sheba's private archive that are part of the research project he led with NK. We also wish to thank the members of The Young Scholars Forum for the Study of Israel (established and was headed by Prof. Anita Shapira and is currently headed by Prof. Orit Rozin), for the fruitful discussion on an earlier version of the manuscript. We would also like to thank the linguistic editors Ruth Ebenstein and the late Diana Rubanenko, for their valuable assistance.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s).


  • children's wards
  • hospital
  • immigrants
  • Israel
  • parents
  • visiting


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