Mirjana Spoljaric Egger

Hadassah’s New President Delivers Petition to International Committee of the Red Cross in Israel Demanding Group Ensure Hostages’ Welfare

During an Israel solidarity mission this week, Carol Ann Schwartz, the new national president of Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, and her immediate predecessor, Rhoda Smolow, delivered a petition to the Israel office of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) demanding the organization send representatives to assess the welfare of the hostages still being held by Hamas. The petition was signed by more than 5,000 members and supporters of Hadassah.

More than 50 Hadassah leaders from around the world joined Schwartz and Smolow in Israel for the Hadassah mission.

“It is unconscionable that the ICRC has not fulfilled its humanitarian role on behalf of 136 citizens of Israel and other countries who have been subjected to physical, psychological and sexual abuse for three months,” said Schwartz, who became Hadassah’s 28th national president on January 1. “They need food, they need medicine and they need to connect with their families.”

Suzanne Patt Benvenisti, executive director of Hadassah’s Israel offices, joined Schwartz and Smolow in handing the petition to ICRC representatives at the organization’s Tel Aviv office on Monday, January 8, the 94th day of the hostages’ captivity.

The petition amplifies a letter Hadassah sent to the ICRC on December 13, 2023, the day ICRC president Mirjana Spoljaric Egger visited Israel. The letter denounced the organization for letting the hostages languish without the care it guarantees other detainees around the world and said the ICRC had betrayed its mission to be an independent and neutral organization.

Founded more than 110 years ago, Hadassah is the largest Jewish women’s organization in America. Its two world-renowned hospitals in Jerusalem are beacons of hope for the region, with health care professionals who are Israeli and Palestinian, Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Druze, working side by side to care for patients of all races, religions and nationalities.

You can read Hadassah’s petition at

Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, is the largest Jewish women’s organization in the United States. With nearly 300,000 members, donors and supporters, Hadassah brings women together to effect change on such critical issues as ensuring Israel’s security, combating antisemitism and promoting women’s health care. Through its Jerusalem-based hospital system, the Hadassah Medical Organization, Hadassah helps support exemplary care for more than 1 million people every year as well as world-renowned medical research. Hadassah’s hospitals serve without regard to race, religion or nationality and in 2005 earned a Nobel Peace Prize nomination for building bridges to peace through medicine. Hadassah also supports two youth villages that set at-risk youth in Israel on the path to a successful future. Visit or follow Hadassah on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.