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Joining Forces for the Good of Others

magen david adom coexistence

Two ambulance drivers working together for Magen David Adom, Israel’s National Red Cross association, helping to save the lives of the sick and wounded, yet free to worship privately in their own faith.

It brings to mind the story of Fadi Dekaidek, a 38 year-old Israeli Arab living in East Jerusalem.

Fadi is a paramedic for MDA. He has given more than 20 years of service after becoming a volunteer at the age of 17 years.

He decided to join after Jewish doctors saved his father’s life after suffering a heart attack.

“I’m an Arab guy in Magen David Adom and I save the lives of Jewish people. After all, a lot of my Jewish friends save Arabic people.”

On 27 January 2023 a Palestinian terrorist attack outside a synagogue in Jerusalem left 7 people dead and many injured. Fadi was on duty at the scene of destruction.

“We saw a woman and a man lying on the street, lifeless after being shot. In addition, we treated 5 injured people.”

It was not the first time Fadi had responded to an Arab-perpetrated terrorist attack.

Fadi claimed that his family, friends and neighbors all supported him in his career.

He says that all the people in East Jerusalem think MDA do a good job in saving lives and helping people.

“When Arabs and Jews join forces for the good of others it’s an example for the whole world.”

In times of distress or crisis, the importance of Arab Israel healthcare professionals as a crucial national resource is notable.

In the mid 90s, Shaden Salameh came to Jerusalem to study medicine at the Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School.

In 2001, she graduated and continued her studies to specialize in internal medicine.

Shaden joined the Hospital Emergency Department at Hadassah in 2006 as a trainee and later became a senior doctor in the department.

Against the Odds

Dr. Salameh was born in a small Arab village near Nazareth in Northern Israel.

Before applying to join the Medical School, she was told in no uncertain terms that her application would not be accepted.

Coming from a small village and with little knowledge of Hebrew, and with so many other young men and women applying to join, her chances would really be against the odds.

But she wasn’t deterred by negative advice.

“The greater the challenge, the greater I am motivated.”

Dr. Salameh is the mother of three small children and, with the seniority of her profession, is virtually on the go for nearly 24 hours a day.

Her family are very proud of her with the senior position she has attained through hard work and dedication.

“I came here to save people. To save lives. The Hospital treats everyone, whether Jewish Israeli or Arab Israeli.”

Another Story

Despite the repeated Arab calls for the destruction of Israel, when is comes to medical attention, it’s another story.

One reason for the improvement in the health of the Palestinians is that Israel provides world-class medical care to thousands of Palestinians each year, including the families of Palestinian Authority and Hamas officials.

Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian officials send their family members to Israel when they have serious health problems.

Abbas’s brother-in-law underwent life-saving heart surgery at the Assuta Medical Center in Tel Aviv.

A year earlier, Abbas’s wife was also hospitalised in Assuta.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh sent his daughter, granddaughter, mother-in-law and niece to Israel for medical treatment.

His 17-year-old niece was being treated at Ichilov Medical Center in Tel Aviv after a bone marrow transplant.

It is worth pointing out the health conditions for Palestinians in the Arab territories has improved significantly following the Six-Day War in 1967, with the availability of Israeli medical services.

Between 1960 and 1965, the death rate in the Arab territories was 16.7 per 1000 of population.

Today it is 3.

Infant mortality between 1960 and 1965 was 117 per 1000 of population.

Today it is 16.

Lloyd Masel made aliyah from Perth, Australia in 1999. He had been active in Zionist Federation programs in Australia, and was the Conductor and soloist of the Perth Hebrew Congregation male choir for 30 years.

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