Israel’s Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar has approved, on grounds of humanitarian aid, the arrival of three Iraqi children to Israel, in order to receive lifesaving medical care at an Israeli hospital.
The three children, – aged one, four and five – are expected to arrive at the Edith Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, near Tel Aviv, in the next few days.
The entrance of the Iraqi children is promoted by Save a Child’s Heart, an Israel-based international organization, which has so far coordinated cardiac surgeries for some 3,000 children from 44 countries.
Since 2004, 180 Iraqi children have made it to Israel – 50 of them in the past two years.
Israeli hospitals currently are also treating children from the Palestinian Authority, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Romania and China.
Doctors and nurses from Tanzania, Ethiopia, the Palestinian Authority and Georgia are also taking part on the project and are undergoing training in Israeli hospitals.
Founded in 1996, Save a Child’s Heart funds the children’s operations via donations and a special budget by Israel’s Regional Cooperation Ministry.
During the Intifada the program continued to treat children from the Palestinian Authority.
Simon Fisher, Executive Director at Save a Child’s Heart, said that “the complexities of bringing in children from countries defined as ‘enemy countries’ depend on the cooperation between the medical staff and the government, but in the end it all proves that human life is above everything.”
Referring to the project’s staff, he stressed: “They build bridges and break stereotypes.”
Earlier this year, seven Syrians hurt in battles between Syrian army forces and rebels near the Golan Heights were taken to the Israeli Ziv Medical Center in Safed.