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Flying Pig Alert: BBC’s Complimentary Report On Israel Treating Syrians

It is hard to believe, but this next BBC report does not seem to contain one negative word about Israel.

flying pigIn the maternity unit at the Sieff Hospital in the Israeli city of Tzfat, the safe arrival of every baby feels like a minor miracle.

But on the day we visited, there was one little boy among the row of newborns who will one day have quite a story to tell. That is, if his parents ever decide to tell him.

The child’s name has to be withheld: publishing any kind of information which could identify him might put him in danger when he goes back to his home village – which is in Syria.

His mother’s name or any personal information that might identify her can’t be published either. She looked tired but happy when we met her, quick to praise the kindness of the Israeli medical staff who had treated her.

She was already in labour when she went to her local clinic in her home village in Syria – but they told her that they could not treat her.

Her worried husband knew that it was possible to get her treated in Israel – and so the couple began a dangerous race to the frontier in a country at war and a desperate race against time.

She had to be taken to a point inside Syria from where she could be seen by Israeli soldiers patrolling the fence that marks the old ceasefire line between the two countries that dates back decades.

A military ambulance then took her to hospital – she made it on time.

The humanitarian chain that got the woman from her home village under heavy shellfire to the boundary fence and then to hospital links guides in Syria to Israeli Army paramedics on the frontier, to the doctors and nurses in Tzfat.

For the woman, every step in the process worked perfectly, perhaps because it has become a well-trodden path.

She was the 177th person to make the journey to the emergency room in what has become one of the most extraordinary subplots of Syria’s agonising civil war.

Syria and Israel regard each other as enemies. A state of war has existed between them for decades.

And yet, since the first patients arrived around nine months ago, the informal system of patient transfer has become so well-established that some patients have even arrived with letters of referral written by doctors in Syria for their Israeli counterparts.

Dr Oscar Embon, the director of the Sieff Hospital, says simply: “Some beautiful relationships have started between the staff at the hospital and the people that we treat. Most of them express their gratitude and their wish for peace between the two countries.”

The Israelis say they are treating everyone who needs treatment. That often means women and children but it is possible that among the young men who have been patched up, there may well be fighters loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, or jihadist rebels who in other circumstances would attack Israeli targets if they could.

Dr Embon says that policy of not discriminating between the sick and the hurt is entirely consistent with what he sees as the values of his country and the ethics of his profession.

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At the centre of the system is an Israeli Arab social worker who asked us to refer to him only by his first name, Faris.

He calms the fears of disoriented patients who are shocked to find themselves suddenly being treated in an enemy state.

He organises charity collections to provide them with toiletries and toothbrushes.

And he listens to their stories.

Read the whole thing.

Wow, a story that shows Israel treating hurt Syrians, and which features an Israeli Arab social worker.

That’s a lot of “washing.”

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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