Israeli officials joined efforts to save the life of Abdul Razek, an 8-year-old Muslim from Ethiopia who was almost eaten to death by a wild hyena.
The humanitarian operation involves Bedouin-Israeli diplomat Ismail Khaldi, Israeli Ambassador to Ethiopia Belaynesh Zevadia and the government-owned Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya. If enough contributions are raised to fund the operation, Razek would be brought to Israel within the week.
The story begins five months ago in a remote Ethiopian village. A wild hyena raided the village and attacked anyone in sight. The animal killed five people and injured 15, among them 8-year-old Abdul Razek. As a result of the attack, Abdul suffered severe head, scalp and eye injuries, and lost one of his ears. He has been hospitalized in an Addis Ababa hospital since the incident, but has only received bandaging treatment so far.
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Dr. Rick Hodes, a doctor of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) who is on mission in Ethiopia, asked the Nahariya medical center if they would agree to treat the child.
After the medical staff examined the photos sent by Dr. Rodes, they concluded that the boy will need to undergo a series of plastic surgeries, including skin grafting in large parts of his head, and possibly eyelid reconstruction surgery to save his eye.
Director General of Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya Dr. Masad Barhoum ordered staff to prepare to give the necessary treatment at cost price and even take on a substantial amount of the surgery and hospitalization costs. The hospital recently started a fundraising campaign in order to cover the expenses.
Meanwhile, Amir Yarhi, acting director of the hospital's Friends organization, recruited his friend Ismail Khaldi, an advisor in the Israeli embassy in London and the first Bedouin diplomat in Israel's service. With the help of Khaldi, the Israeli Ambassador to Ethiopia Belaynesh Zevadia also stepped in. The estimated cost of the operation is $40,000.
As of Saturday, most of the money was raised. The goal is for the boy to come to Israel by the end of the week. The Israeli embassy in Ethiopia has already begun making flight arrangements for the boy and his parents.
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