News items on assistance to Syrian refugees by Israeli organizations and individuals.

Dramatic video of IsraAID teams helping refugees on Lesbos

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The Kikar Ha Shabat web portal posted a very dramatic video of an IsraAID medical team treating and assisting refugees on the very beaches of the Greek island of Lesbos, literally the front line of the refugee crisis. The description of the ordeals the refugees go through to reach Lesbos are harrowing to say the least. Mistreated and exploited by smugglers in Turkey, refugees are crowded 150 on boats meant for only a third of that number, with barely enough fuel in the engine to reach halfway to Greece.

But those who manage to reach Lesbos find a well organized and highly efficient IsraAID team of medical and aid volunteers. Boats are tracked as soon as they come into binocular range, and medical assistance, warm cloth and sustenance is provided the moment the refugees are helped out of the boats onto the beach. And the comfort and relief a refugee experiences on finding Arabic speakers among the rescue team cannot be overstated.

Nor the personal risks that the IsraAID team members run. Needless to say, they have no idea who they will be meeting on the beaches of Lesbos on any given day, only that they will be strangers, not just from Syria, but from other countries that have traditionally been hostile to Jews and Israelis.

And that they are strangers in need of help. After days and possibly weeks of being exploited at the hands of remorseless human smugglers, and risking their lives on a terrifying journey to a strange land, the welcome and assistance provided by the IsraAID volunteers is something no refugee will forget for the rest of their lives.

To see the video in its entirety click here.

2016-02-23T20:05:34+00:00 February 23rd, 2016|

Vice News’ in-depth report & video on Israeli hospital treating Syrians

 

A patient being transported to Ziv Medical Center by the IDF (Photo via Ziv Medical Center)

A patient being transported to Ziv Medical Center by the IDF (Photo via Ziv Medical Center)

Back in July 2015 Vice News published a 30 minute video and an in-depth report by Sara E. Williams on the medical care and treatment being provided to wounded Syrians by Israel’s Ziv Medical Center, a hospital just 40 minutes away from the border with Syria.

The report makes for remarkable reading. Of the more than 2,000 Syrians who were treated at Ziv since early 2013, over 340 were children. While amputations are the expected outcome for patients who are treated in Jordan, the Israeli medical teams in Ziv have managed to save all except a very few number of limbs. Among Syrians, Israeli hospitals have acquired a near legendary reputation. As one member of the staff at Ziv put it; “they think we can do miracles so they bring lost cases”.

And in Israel, political or military affiliation is never a factor in whether a patient receives treatment. True to the spirit and letter of the Hippocratic Oath, Israeli doctors do not withhold treatment based on political feelings. It is a far cry from the common practice in Syria itself, where wounded demonstrators would face torture or be killed outright if they ended up in a hospital controlled by the regime.

The community in which the hospital is located have also shown a tremendous amount of generosity towards the Syrian patients, donating items and funds for prosthetic limbs and dental surgery.

To read the lengthy report and see the video, click here.

2016-02-10T19:09:54+00:00 February 10th, 2016|

BBC; revolutionary Israeli procedure that rebuilt a wounded Syrian’s face

The_logo_of_rambam_health_care_campus_cIn February 2015 the BBC ran a remarkable article on a revolutionary procedure carried out by Israel’s Rambam Hospital to rebuild a wounded Syrian farmer’s face, using a titanium jaw created via a 3D printer.

The procedure was the first of its kind in Israel, having been pioneered only a few years previously in Europe.

The Haifa based Rambam hospital treats around one fifth of the total number of wounded Syrians who come to or are sent to Israel for treatment.

To read the entire article and view the video report, click here.

2016-01-30T23:04:16+00:00 January 30th, 2016|

Israeli Defense Forces’ medical treatment of wounded Syrians

Photo by Joshua Mitnick for the Toronto Star.

Photo by Joshua Mitnick for the Toronto Star.

The Toronto Star’s Joshua Mitnick has an intriguing firsthand look at the Israeli Defense Forces’ medical assistance to Syrians wounded in the conflict. The article describes the initial apprehension many of the wounded Syrians have at being treated by a medics from an “enemy” state. Coordination of the transfer of wounded is done with groups opposed to the Syrian regime.

“We know them from wars. They are an enemy country. But, like every country, you have to distinguish between extremists and you have the innocent,” said [IDF] Sgt. First Class Jonathan Achituv.

Of particular interest is the case of “Ahmed”, a former regime soldier so previously die-hard, he had a tattoo of deceased president Hafez Assad on his chest.

“I expected to see terrible things. I expected disgusting treatment,” said Ahmed, who declined to give his real name because getting treatment in Israel could put him at risk back in Syria. “The (soldiers) said, don’t worry, we will take care of you and we’ll fix your hand.”

To read the entire article click here.

2016-01-12T06:50:06+00:00 January 12th, 2016|

Israeli volunteers aiding Syrian refugees in Serbia

natanHaaretz has an article on the efforts the Natan International Humanitarian Aid organization’s Israeli volunteers who are providing medical aid and assistance to Syrian refugees in Serbia. The article also details the many ways the refugees are exploited by unscrupulous con-men and taxi drivers on their way across Serbia.

After enduring days of hardships and danger, the refugees are all to happy to finally met sympathetic aid workers who speak their language, an advantage volunteers from Israel have when interacting with refugees from the Middle East.

“It’s as if you are rescuing them from a hole in the ground,” says Kafa Joubran, an Israeli Arab social worker for Kafr Rameh, in the Galilee. “In a moment, they feel secure, a bit of the stability that they once had returns.  We translate for them, help them with the paperwork, and that helps them a lot.”

To read the entire article click here.

2016-01-09T21:10:20+00:00 January 9th, 2016|

IsraAID Israeli volunteers helping refugees in Lesbos, Greece

The Times of Israel has an excellent article by Gavin Rabinowitz on the aid work being done in Greece, by Israeli volunteers from the tireless IsraAID NGO. Volunteers from the organization have been on the ground on the island of Lesbos, providing assistance and medical aid to refugees from countries traditionally hostile to Israel.

While IsraAID has plenty of experience in disaster relief and assistance in 31 countries — from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa — this mission presents a unique challenge: The beneficiaries come from countries that are traditionally hostile, or even officially still at war, with Israel.

Read the entire article here.

2016-01-06T06:01:42+00:00 January 6th, 2016|
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