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Dr. Tomer Tzur: A Portrait of a Hadassah Physician/Soldier

Dr. Tomer Tzur, Hadassah Medical Center Plastic Surgeon, specializing in reconstructive surgery as well as running the world's largest skin bank at Hadassah-Ein Kerem, is also a member of the Israel Defense Force's elite commando unit. A surgeon at Hadassah for the last 13 years, Dr. Tzur may spend his 12-hour work day improving the appearance of a burn victim, repairing the functioning of a trauma victim's limb or reconstructing a woman's breast following a mastectomy. Or he may be on the battlefield in his role as a commando. Dr. Tzur served as a commando before becoming a physician; after he completed medical school, he became a commando physician. At age 43, he still takes on combat duty, spending two months every year with the military.

A former champion 400-meter runner while a youngster growing up in Haifa, Dr. Tzur was also a professional dancer with Israel's Batsheva Dance Company. Having a father born in Italy and a mother born in Romania, Dr. Tzur speaks both of their native languages, as well as Hebrew, Arabic, English, French, and German. Dr. Tzur is also a mentor to colleagues from other countries, like South Africa, advising them on how to replicate Hadassah's protocol for storing skin.

As all the medical and nursing professionals at Hadassah, Dr. Tzur treats Arabs and Jews, Israelis and Palestinians. "I've taken part in military action and then treated the terrorists we captured," he says. "That's part of my life." He adds: "I believe that most of the people in this region would like to have peace. But, because they don't live in fully democratic countries, they can't express these priorities."

Looking toward the future, Dr. Tzur notes: As we reach our 65th birthday as a nation, I hope we will be able to address the economic gaps and social issues in our society and not have to focus so much energy on defense."

Date: 4/17/2013
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