By COLlive reporter
Photos by Israel Bardugo
Rabbi Shlomo Bentolila, Director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Central Africa, was honored with inaugurating the new building of the La Paz Medical Center, one of the most sophisticated and advanced hospitals in West Africa.
With the hospital’s staff around him, the Chabad Shliach made a blessing and affixed a Mezuzah on the hospital’s front door.
This news is no surprise for those who know the dynamics of Equatorial Guinea, a former Spanish colony, which is considered one of the most poorly-run states of western Africa.
The driving force behind the medical center in the port city of Bata is an Israeli citizen called Yardena Ovadia. The businesswomen is said to have close ties to the country’s President Teodoro Obiang, who has ruled the country since a coup in 1979 and is the Chairperson of the African Union.
Ovadia is said to have persuaded Obiang and GE Healthcare International to build the state-of-the-art medical center, which employs a large staff of Israelis.
According to Haaretz, she grew up in the hardscrabble Negev city of Dimona, Israel, and first visited Equatorial Guinea several years ago and formed a friendship with President Obiang.
Rabbi Bentolila, who from his base in The Congo has been looking out for and assisting Jewish communities, visiting businesspeople and expats in Central Africa, was invited to the inauguration ceremony.
With his distinct chassidic look, he praised the humanitarian work and medical assistance that is given at the hospital, blessing that the healing angel Refael will be with the doctors and nurses.