Photo: Visual Photos
Photo: Visual Photos
3 Iraqi children to be operated on in Israel
Cardiac patients to be brought to Jewish state as part of humanitarian project. Some 1,600 children from 26 different countries undergo surgery in Israel so far. 'It's a special experience; the parents arrive in a country they consider an enemy state,' says director of association which initiated project
Three Iraqi children suffering from heart defects are expected to arrive in Israel on Thursday through the Sheikh Hussein Bridge border crossing in order to be operated on by cardiologists from the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon.


The operations will be carried out as part of the humanitarian project 'Save a Child's Heart.' Since the association was founded 12 years ago, more than 1,600 children from 26 different countries, including the Palestinian Authority, have undergone surgery in Israel.


The association's director, Simon Fischer, said that "after Saddam Hussein's regime collapsed, we started operating on children from Iraq. Before that it was just not possible.


"At the end of December we were in Jordan with our doctors and build a cardiac clinic there, in which 29 children from Iraq were tested. Twenty of them were found suitable for operation. We plan to travel to Jordan once again this year in order for other children from the country to undergo similar tests."


Five Iraqi children have undergone surgery in Israel so far. About two weeks ago, two girls returned to Iraq after being operated on the Wolfson Medical Center as part of the project. The children who will arrive in Israel on Thursday are in danger of dying if they are not operated on, according to doctors' estimates.


'Trust created over time'

The entire association's activity is financed by donations. The activity also helps improve Israel's image, as the children's families become "ambassadors" for Israel in their home countries.


According to Fischer, "This is a special experience; the parents arrive in a country they consider an enemy state. The families that came in the past used to arrive with fears of the unknown.


"In January we had two fathers who said that they did not tell their children in which country they were about to be treated. But over time, trust is created. The parents see the treatments their children get and what has been done for them."


The heart surgeon who operates on the children also helps them feel at home. Dr. Lior Sasson is of Iraqi origin. According to Fischer, he speaks to the children and their families in the little Iraqi Arabic he remembers.


"This probably makes them feel a bit more comfortable," Fischer said.


פרסום ראשון: 03.01.07, 00:04
 new comment
See all talkbacks "3 Iraqi children to be operated on in Israel"
This will delete your current comment