While the world's focus was out to sea, an Israeli-based charity was busy performing open-heart surgery on children from Gaza.Read the whole thing.
"The international media was talking about the flotilla, while Israeli hospitals were treating kids from Africa, Iraq and Gaza," says Simon Fisher, executive director of SACH (Save a Child's Heart), an Israeli-based international humanitarian project with a mission to save the lives of children from developing countries with cardiac ailments.
"That's the Israel I know - nothing like the one portrayed in the media. It deserves acknowledgement," Fisher tells ISRAEL21c.
"We hold a free cardiology clinic at the Edith Wolfson Medical Center in Holon every Tuesday for Palestinian children from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, regardless of the regional political atmosphere. The clinics took place even during the war in Gaza [18 months ago]. Even in the worst of times, out programs continue. We find that on both sides, regardless of Hamas, Fatah or any other organization, there is always cooperation."
"The day after the flotilla incident, the kids from Gaza turned up as usual. We treat an average of 10 each week, referred to us by 10 Palestinian physicians in the West Bank and Gaza."
This summer, SACH is launching two projects: The Israeli Ministry for Regional Cooperation has committed NIS 1 million (some $260,000) to supporting life-saving heart surgery for 100 Iraqi, Palestinian and Jordanian children in the coming year. Meanwhile, the European Union has allocated Euro 400,000 to fund heart surgery for 150 children from the Palestinian Authority and provide in-depth postgraduate training in pediatric cardiac care for eight Palestinian physicians under the 'Heart of the Matter project, which is part of the EU's "Partnership for Peace" Program. This is the third time the EU has co-sponsored 'Heart of the Matter' - a cooperation that began in 2005.
The two projects were launched on June 20 at the Wolfson Medical Center with a ceremony attended by Minister for Regional Cooperation Silvan Shalom and the EU's Ambassador to Israel, Andrew Standley.
"At a time when the world is debating Israel's actions in Gaza, our answer to the next flotilla is this project and saving children from Gaza," Shalom said during the ceremony. "We are not engaged in a conflict with the Palestinian people." Standley added that the project proves that Israel and the Palestinians can cooperate.
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