Telling notes from all over, about Israeli doctors, and their Arab (and Muslim) patients.
We have repeatedly been told – see Rashida Tlaib, see Ilhan Omar, see Linda Sarsour, see Jeremy Corbyn – that Israel is a wicked country, full of people who live on stolen Palestinian land, and wake up every day to inflict new torments on the long-suffering Palestinian people.
So I was intrigued to find stories about Israeli doctors and Arab patients, stories that don’t quite fit that narrative. I offer a handful of them below:
1. In cooperation with the Israeli NGO “Save a Child’s Heart,” the Wolfson Medical Center in the central Israeli town of Holon has treated thousands of Arab children in recent years. Most of the patients have been Palestinian Arab childen in need of life-saving surgery, which is fully paid for by “Save a Child’s Heart” and the Israeli taxpayers.
Many other patients have come from war-torn Iraq. Others have come from as far away as Afghanistan.
In one instance, a princess from the Emirate of Bahrain insisted on having critical surgery in Israel, insisting that only in the Jewish state would she receive the treatment she needed to save her life. She was treated in Israel, and her life was saved.
2. In 2018, more than 20,000 permits were granted to Palestinians living in the West Bank to enter Israel and receive treatment or support a patient who was receiving treatment in the Jewish state, according to numbers released to The Jerusalem Post by the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories Unit (COGAT).
That number was up by nearly 3,000 from the year before.
Of the 6,000 Palestinian cancer patients from Judea and Samaria, 1,200 were treated in a hospital in Israel – including in east Jerusalem – according to COGAT.
Additionally, in 2018, more than 200 patients from Judea and Samaria – including 112 children – received bone marrow transplants in Israeli hospitals. Some 18 patients received eye neoplasms, and 103 received cornea transplants with treatment at St. John’s Ophthalmic Hospital in Jerusalem.
3. In October 2014: just weeks after the end of Israel’s war with the terror group Hamas in Gaza, the daughter of Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, was treated in an Israeli hospital. Ismail Haniyeh is one of Israel’s greatest foes. He frequently calls for Israel’s destruction in fiery sermons and praised Osama bin Laden as a “martyr” after he was killed by the US in 2011.
His daughter was admitted without hesitation for “emergency medical care.” She remained hospitalized for “a number of days.” Her illness has not been revealed, but she is now in good health, and back with her family. And her father continues to denounce Israel and to threaten to destroy it as he did before his daughter’s life was saved by Israeli doctors.
Nearly 4,000 Syrians – both opponents and supporters of Assad, as well as members of the neutral White Helmets who rescue civilians – have been treated in Israeli hospitals. Many of those who arrive are initially nervous; they have been raised to hate and fear Israelis. But they soon realize there is nothing to fear or to hate. They receive the best medical care in the Middle East, paid for by the Israeli taxpayer.
4. Just one Israeli medical facility, Sheba Medical Center at Ramat Gan, has treated 150,000 West Bank and Gazan Palestinians since the Six Day War. How many hundreds of thousands of other West Bank and Gaza Palestinians have been treated at other Israeli hospitals –there are 85 in Israel — and medical centers open to them, such as Hadassah in Jerusalem, is unknown, but if at Sheba Medical Centerl alone 150,000 Arabs have been treated, the total number of Palestinian Arab patients treated since the Six Day War in dozens of Israeli hospitals must surely be close to one million.
5. Doctor Yoram Neumann, a hematologist and pediatrician at Sheba Medical Center, was asked for his thoughts on treating patients from Palestinian backgrounds. He answered: “My feelings are mixed. On the one hand, I am a doctor who rejoices in helping children – irrespective of their backgrounds. I want to do the best for each and every one. I would dearly love a link with my Arab colleagues. I have trained a number and feel proud to have done so.
“On the other hand, I feel angry at the manner in which the world media projects us – we are portrayed as ‘child killers,’ while here and in hospitals all over the country we are saving Palestinian lives.
“Is it not time that the world recognized the humanitarian work carried out here, in spite of the continued incitement, stabbings, vehicle rammings and rockets activated against us?”
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