Israel Aid
Wounded Syrian girl’s hematological disease cured in Haifa
Six-year-old now returning to first grade with a new backpack, and an uncertain future.

Six-year-old now returning to first grade with a new backpack, and an uncertain future.

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A six-year-old girl from Syria who was treated for her wound and a blood disease at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center was discharged and sent home on Tuesday after her new Israeli friends held a farewell party and gave her with many gifts, including a first-grade backpack – in the hope that her school is still standing.

She was one of the 140 Syrian civilians – men, women and children – that Rambam doctors, nurses and other personnel have treated over the past three years of civil war there. However, the departure of “B” was especially emotional for everyone. Wearing a white dress and shoes and a little silver crown, “B” was the guest of honor at a farewell party held by an entire department, where Jews, Muslims, Christians, and Druse stood together with tears in their eyes, hugging her and worrying about the future that awaits her.

The girl arrived at Rambam’s Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital in early February as a small, scared, and wounded child. Once she recovered from the injuries that brought her across the border to Israel, the medical team noted from her blood tests that she suffered from a blood disease that was due to poor bone marrow function.

For Israeli children with this disease, the treatment is straightforward and generally yields good results: A bone marrow donor is found, the child is isolated from infection, the bone marrow transplant is performed and, if all goes well, the child recovers.

However, for a Syrian child, the entire process is much more complicated.

At this point, the Israeli government stepped in to help “B”’s medical team, led by Dr. Irena Zeidman and Dr.

Ayelet Ben-Barak. They managed to reach the child’s relatives in Syria and bring back blood samples from several family members to find out if they were potential donors.

“I’ll never forget when they first brought in those test tubes, discreetly wrapped in dish towels,” recalls Iris Porat, one of the nurses who cared for “B” throughout her hospitalization.

Happily, “B”’s brother was a perfect match.

With the help of the government, “B”’s brother crossed the border from Syria and was brought to Rambam.

It took two weeks to complete the bone marrow donation, after which he returned home while “B” and her mother remained in the department, while they and the doctors waited to see if the transplant had succeeded.

It wasn’t easy for the mother and daughter, who had arrived from what is still considered an enemy country, to spend more than six months completely cut off from their family. Grace Yaakov, a social worker in the pediatric oncology department, worked tirelessly to create a support system for the two. Non-profits from the Arab sector, as well as parents of Jewish and Arab patients, all, did their part to support “B,” who sometimes spent weeks in isolation.

They showered her with clothing, home-cooked food, books, movies, and games, anything to help the two feel more at home.

The girl captured everyone’s hearts with her clever, happy, and curious personality. She especially enjoyed the holiday celebrations and even dressed up in costume for Purim. She also lost no opportunity to share how much she missed her siblings and the spring near her small village, somewhere in the battle zone in Syria. Yesterday, “B’”s hospitalization came to an end.

The happy, smiling girl – who said she dreams of one day becoming a fashion designer – entered a room with tables of cakes and gifts, the sound of clapping and the drumming of traditional Arab darbuka drums. A slide show of photos from “B”’s time at Rambam was shown, and Ashwak El-rabia, an Arab nonprofit that assists children with cancer, gave her a tablet in which she could store her memories and a backpack for her first year of school.

After all the parting messages, some of which were painstakingly read in Arabic by Jewish doctors and nurses, the mother asked to read her own thank you wishes. In a small voice, she said: “I would lie if I said that I expected the kind of humanity I discovered here. I am grateful for your care and sensitivity; may God protect you. And we will always remember what you did for us.”
With cardiac surgery, Israeli team saves Afghani boy’s life
Unlikely Facebook friendship crossing enemy lines leads to lifesaving treatment for baby born with heart defects

Doctors at Wolfson Medical Center perform open heart surgery (Nati Shohat/Flash90)NEWSROOM


August 15, 2016, 11:46 am

A baby boy born in Afghanistan with multiple heart defects received life-saving surgery in Israel thanks to a Facebook friendship and a covert operation that traversed enemy borders and diplomatic lines.

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Yehia was born to Afghani parents in Peshawar, Pakistan, with major heart defects, The New York Times reported. His parents had no way of paying for the surgery needed to save his life.

During a trip to their homeland they spoke with an English-speaking relative, Farhad Zaheer, living in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, who reached out on social media to his contacts. Anna Mussman, 69, a daughter of Holocaust survivors living in Israel, answered his call. According to the Times report, Zaheer remembered Mussman because she had commented kindly on his previous posts.

Mussman contacted Simon Fisher, executive director of the Israeli charity Save a Child’s Heart. “I realize helping a child from a country which Israel has no diplomatic relations is not easy, but perhaps possible,” she emailed him. “Thanks so much and Shabbat Shalom.”

It was not simple to arrange, and involved calling in all sorts of favors and using many different contacts, but ultimately Yehia was brought to Holon’s Wolfson Medical Center, and was operated on in an eight-hour surgery.

Yehia’s family members did not want to give their last name out of fear of reprisals for having sought treatment in Israel. Yehia is the first Afghan to have been treated by Save a Child’s Heart, joining children from over 50 other countries who have been saved by the organization.

Save a Child’s Heart, whose $3.5 million annual budget is covered mostly by private Jewish donors, has saved the lives of over 4,000 children. Half of the patients come from Gaza and the Palestinian Authority. It has also saved hundreds of lives in, among other countries, Nigeria, Zanzibar and Tanzania, China, Iraq and Ethiopia.
Evangelical Lutheran Church Votes to Divest from Israeli Occupation...
Why are Christians so slow in supporting morality…

Slow moral followers… Secular institutions, like the UN, have been denouncing the Israeli occupation for many years…

“…the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) voted overwhelmingly — by an estimated 90% — to create an investment screen that would identify and remove the Church’s investments in corporations profiting from Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights, and other human rights abuses around the world.

The new screen has a broad reach, ensuring that the Church would avoid investments in corporations currently complicit in human rights violations as part of the Israeli occupation, as well as any future corporations that become complicit.

In addition, the ELCA voted by a margin of 82% — 751 to 162 — calling for an end to unconditional U.S. aid to Israel.

ELCA marks the ninth denomination to engage in economic acts of conscience to support justice for Palestinians, following the Quakers, Mennonite Central Committee, United Methodists, Presbyterians, United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalists, Catholic Conference of Major Superiors of Men, and the Alliance of Baptists.

ELCA voting member Darla Thiele, Dakota name Shining Star Woman, had this to say before the vote:

As a Native woman, the situation in Palestine reminds me of what my people have gone through here in America. I have seen my people lose our land, our lives, our culture — our songs, dances, spiritual ways. Like the Palestinians, we have no justice. Treaties have been broken… We talk about loving our neighbor. We talk about justice. But where is the justice?… Now is the time for the church to stop profiting from these injustices. Now is the time to bring healing, to bring peace, to bring justice.