Israel Still Aiding Wounded Syrians, Turning Them from ‘Enemies to Friends’

Israeli Pres. Rivlin & wounded Syrian. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

Israel and Syria have been mortal enemies since Syria attacked the newly reborn State of Israel almost 70 years ago. But that hasn’t impacted Israel’s ongoing work to help Syrians wounded in that nation’s civil war—and it may even offer hope for peace. It certainly isn’t stopping, even as violence continues to rage. The IDF Spokesperson Twitter page reported that on Thursday night, Israel evacuated seven Syrians needing medical care—all but one of which were women and children—to an Israeli hospital. That theme of aiding children is nothing new.

The Israeli Galilee Medical Center has seen more than 1,500 wounded Syrians, roughly 500 of whom have been children and infants, according to a Sunday press release from the Israeli President’s Office. Dr. Masad Barhoum, director of the Galilee Medical Center, was quoted in the press release saying that he recently spoke to the AIPAC conference and told them of their aid for the Syrians and “to explain how we turned those wounded Syrians from enemies to friends.” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said the work is a point of pride for Israel and that it will continue.

“It is proof that the world is built on kindness,” said Rivlin. “Israel will continue to do everything it can with responsibility and wisdom, in order to alleviate the suffering of the people who experience daily slaughter here on the other side of the border.”

Rivlin, during his visit, hinted at a link between the devastated Syrians and the Jewish people in commenting on the U.S. military strike against a Syrian airbase, which was in response to the regime’s chemical weapons attack on their own people.

“The United States proved on Friday that there are red lines that cannot be crossed in a civilized world, and I hope it will serve as an example for the entire free world,” said Rivlin. “And we, who have risen from the ashes of the Holocaust, know very well that silence cannot be an option.”

Israel’s support for the wounded Syrians is also benefitting their own medical capabilities. “The treatment of the wounded Syrians has turned our trauma center into one of the most experienced in Israel, and one of the world leaders in providing care for complex and difficult war casualties,” said Dr. Barhoum.

The commitment to care for wounded Syrians rests at the highest level of Israel’s government. In separate comments released by his office on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted that “Israel is caring for wounded Syrians as part of a humanitarian effort. We will continue to do so.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, April 9, 2017)



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