View or download your copy of the Spring Edition of the Jerusalem Scene magazine from the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group:



Dear Brother Knights,

I hope you enjoy your latest edition of Jerusalem Scene, detailing some of the incredible ways that together we have helped over 147,000 adults and children in the last year. Without the Knights Templar’s generous support, we simply would not have been able to help so many people – thank you so much!

Spring is a wonderful time of year. The sunshine, daffodils and cherry trees blossoming across the country are tiding in the beginnings of new life and longer, sunlit days.

In Jerusalem, this season means the magnificent swifts have begun making their way back home, where they will nest in the walls of the Old City. It is a joy for our patients and staff to see. Especially for Marlene Katansho, our Muristan Clinic coordinator, whose office overlooks our Peace Garden where we have built nesting boxes to encourage migrating swifts to settle amongst the symbolic swifts on our Tree of Hope. You can see Marlene’s pictures of the swifts on our Instagram page.

In thanks for your generous support of our work, we are running a special Swift Appeal in 2019. Any Provincial Priory or unattached Preceptory that raises £5,000 more for our work in 2019 than in 2018 will receive automatic sponsorship of a swift on our Tree of Hope. A Provincial Priory or unattached Preceptory’s total will include all individual donations and legacies associated with them. This sponsorship will also include a large swift of your own to keep, which will be presented to you with your Annual Fundraising Certificates.

Our amazing staff across our hospitals, clinics and outreach services have been so busy over the last year, as we have worked to reach more patients than ever before. I am delighted to share the news that with your support in 2018 we increased the reach of our mobile services by 34%, and we performed 5,200 major sight-saving surgeries which is an 8% increase from 2017. We are very proud to see these results and we send our thanks to you for helping us achieve this.

In September, the Sir Stephen Miller School of Nursing welcomed our Class of 2019 who have almost finished their first module and are on their way to become the next generation of ophthalmic specialists in the country. One of our students, Dua, has written an update for supporters which you can read on page 3.

We also established our second Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness. This medical research study is investigating the causes of preventable blindness across the occupied Palestinian territories. Dr. Abdelhadi, our lead ophthalmologist based in the West Bank, has shared some of his experiences which you can read on page 4. The study will come to a close in May this year and our aim is to gain further insight into the causes of preventable blindness in order to ensure we are tackling it in the most effective way. 80% of blindness across the region is preventable or treatable – we must do more to stop preventable blindness.

Finally, I am sure you were concerned about the Emergency Appeal we were pushed into last year as a result of the US Administration cuts, which left us with an immediate funding gap of £500,000. I am very pleased to let you know that with the kindness and generosity of our supporters the Emergency Appeal raised a grand total of £551,425 - this show of solidarity from within the St John family has been uplifting and hugely appreciated.

We send our heartfelt thanks to all those that helped us during this uncertain time. It has allowed us to continue to deliver our vital services, and thousands of patients will be treated as a result of this support.

We hope you enjoy reading about what we have achieved together in recent months, and once you have finished please do forward it onto friends and family in the hope they will also be inspired by our work.

Thank you once again for helping us treat and prevent blindness across Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem – you are helping to make an incredible difference to lives across the region.

With sincere thanks for all that you do,


Amy Foster

Senior Supporter Relations Officer

St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group