Two children who have been the recipients of Save a Child’s Heart’s care. (Credit: SACH)
The United Nations as a whole – and through many of its affiliated organizations – has shown hostility and outright hatred for anything Israeli for decades. So it was surprising and encouraging when Save A Child’s Heart (SACH), a non-political, voluntary organization based at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, was recently awarded the UN Population Award for saving the lives of more than 5,000 Third-World youngsters born with congenital heart defects.
It was the first time than an Israeli non-profit organization received the award.
“Most people don’t know that about one out of every 100 children are born with congenital heart disease. And though most of these children have correctable conditions, the majority of them will die before the age of 20 as a result of the lack of facilities and doctors capable of performing the life-saving heart surgeries or catheterization they so desperately need,” said Dr. Lior Sasson, SACH’s lead surgeon when he accepted the award from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres during an official ceremony at UN headquarters in New York. Sasson was accompanied by his colleagues, Dr. Akiva Tamir and Dr. Sion Houri.
Sasson continued that every child saved has the potential to change the world – and indeed, some have gone on to start schools and support orphans. “The mandate of the United Nations Population Fund is, in part, to deliver a world in which every young person’s potential is fulfilled. The goal of Save a Child’s Heart, as we see it, is to contribute our small part to achieving this mandate. We hope that by mending hearts we are building bridges of peace, person to person, nation to nation, and saving the world one heart at a time.”
Dr. Lior Sasson attends to one of his young patients. (Credit: SACH)
Each year, the Committee for the UN Population Award honors an individual or institution for outstanding contributions to issues of population and reproductive health and to their solutions. The award won by SACH was established by the UN General Assembly in 1981 and first presented in 1983. It consists of a gold medal, a diploma and a monetary prize.
The organization was established in 1995 at Wolfson Medical Center with the mission to improve the quality of pediatric cardiac care for children in developing nations and creating centers of competence in these countries and saving lives regardless of the child’s nationality, religion, color, gender or financial situation. So far, their surgeons and nurses – all working on a voluntary basis at the hospital – have saved children from 57 countries in Africa, South America, Europe, Asia, and throughout the Middle East. Half of the children they have treated are Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza, which are officially and practically at war with Israel.
Every Tuesday, SACH holds a cardiology clinic for Palestinian children. Twenty to 30 children arrive at Wolfson every week with their parents, to be examined by the SACH heart physicians. Doctors accompany the children from Gaza who also come to work in the clinic with their Israeli partners.
SACH has also trained more than 120 medical personnel, including Palestinian doctors, and holds preoperative and follow-up cardiology clinics in Holon and abroad on a weekly basis. It also leads surgical and educational missions to partner countries, which include Ethiopia, Senegal, Zanzibar, Tanzania, Romania, Myanmar and Fiji. SACH is currently training at Wolfson medical personnel from Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, and the Palestinian Authority.
The organization is now constructing an International Pediatric Cardiac Center at Wolfson that will enable SACH to save more children every year. The seven-story building, to be completed next year, will be named the Sylvan Adams Children’s Hospital and also serve young Israelis in the area.
SACH’s founder, Dr. Amram (Ami) Cohen, was a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon, who immigrated to Israel from the US in 1992. He quickly established the organization, which he turned into an important contributor to children’s health worldwide. He joined Wolfson’s staff and served as the deputy chief of cardiovascular surgery and head of pediatric cardiac surgery.
In 1988, while serving in the US armed forces in Korea, the head of the international organization Save the Hearts approached him. The organization was sending orphaned and indigent Korean children to Western countries for medical care not available locally. Cohen was so impressed with the idea that he requested and received permission from his superiors to participate in the program, and during the rest of his time in Korea, performed 35 pediatric cardiac surgeries.
He joined the staff of the Wolfson Medical Center and served as its deputy chief and then director of pediatric cardiovascular surgery. The organization came into being when an Ethiopian doctor contacted Cohen after being referred to him by a mutual friend at the University of Massachusetts. He asked for Cohen’s help with two children in desperate need of heart surgery, which in fact saved their lives. Cohen died tragically in 2001 from altitude sickness while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro – but SACH continued.
“Ami would have been very proud of us that we are continuing what he started by operating on young children from Gaza,” Sasson added.
Nine years ago, despite terrorist attacks on southern Israel from Gaza, a three-week-old baby named Jafar underwent surgery. Sasson, his surgeon, said Jafar – who was accompanied by his grandmother –would almost surely have died quickly after birth because he was born with a severe congenital heart defect, the transposition of the great arteries. “He is a very sweet baby. We don’t care if he comes from a Hamas family or what. He is a baby,” he said. “We have a well-oiled operation, and the security forces know us well. There are no problems, even during a war,” Sasson said.
And SACH has had the additional benefit of bringing hearts together. A poll of Palestinian relatives of children who underwent free heart surgery at Wolfson found that a vast majority “positively changed their opinions about Israel” as a result. They said that the good deed strengthened mutual trust between the two peoples. Eighty-eight percent of the relatives praised the level of medical care at Wolfson and warm contacts with the staff. When the general Palestinian public were asked whether the program brings Palestinians and Israelis closer together, they agreed. About half of the representative sample of Palestinians polled knew of the Save A Child’s Heart program. More than 80% of them were in favor of children from Gaza and the West Bank who needed heart surgery going to an Israeli hospital for treatment.
Most Israelis who were also surveyed said they favor Palestinian children from Gaza and the West Bank being allowed to come to Israel hospitals for heart surgery and catheterizations and said it was better to do it here than in other countries. A majority of Israelis (80%) said it was right for Israeli surgeons and other hospital staffers to treat these Palestinian children well.
Jeremy Corbyn leads a pro-Palestinian demonstration in London in 2014, one year before becoming Labour Party leader. Photo: File.
This marked a massive rise from the previous such survey, in which only 39% of Jews believed Corbyn was antisemitic.
British Jews also expressed an extremely low opinion of the Labour Party in general. The poll showed that 85.6% believed Labour suffered from “very high” levels of antisemitism.
Corbyn and his party have been beset with a series of high-profile antisemitism scandals for several years, which has resulted in the resignation and suspension of several prominent officials. Corbyn himself was recently caught on video saying that “Zionists” did not understand “English irony” despite “having lived in this country for a very long time.”
Makuya in Jerusalem 201 (YouTube)
Like an apple tree among trees of the forest, So is my beloved among the youths. I delight to sit in his shade, And his fruit is sweet to my mouth. (Song of Songs 2:3)
For ten days in late August, Israeli Rabbi Benny Lau and his wife, Rabbanit Noah Lau, traveled from Jerusalem to Japan to lead Bible study for groups of Makuya Japanese Christians. The Laus traveled to five Japanese towns and spent three days together at a weekend conference with 3,400 members of the Makuya group.
Makuya is Japanese for the Hebrew word Mishkan, the tent of meeting, where human beings come into contact with God. The Mishkan was the portable sanctuary that the Israelites used in the desert, before entering Israel and building the First Holy Temple.
The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. (Psalm 11:5)
Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro. (Credit: Agencia O Globo)
Jair Bolsonaro, the front-runner in the upcoming presidential election in Brazil, was stabbed during a campaign rally Thursday and was undergoing surgery.
The far-right politician, whose heated rhetoric has electrified some voters and angered others – -who accuse him of racism and homophobia – in a deeply polarized electorate, was attacked amid a crowd in the south-east state of Minas Gerais. Bolsonaro has performed strongly in recent opinion polls.
Those same polls suggested that he will likely receive the most votes in next month’s presidential elections, especially if the country’s former president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva (‘Lula’) remains blocked from standing. He is currently in prison, but is appealing against his candidacy ban – imposed after his conviction for corruption.
Republican lawmakers have made it clear they have no intention of repealing Obamacare in the current Congress.
Republicans in the nation’s top lawmaking body have never really wanted to get rid of Obamacare. They would prefer to present the program, which David Horowitz correctly describes as “the greatest assault on individual freedom and individual choice in our lifetimes,” as a villain and whip up sentiment against it and run against it every election. They view Obamacare as good for the business of politics. They may chip away at it from time to time or tinker with it at the margins, but make no mistake: these creatures of Washington want to keep it in place. This is the Republicans’ dirty secret.
The Trump administration has decided to reopen a case brought by a Zionist group against Rutgers University, previously closed by the Obama administration in 2014, alleging that the university had allowed Jewish students to be subjected to a hostile environment in violation of Title VI of the U.S. Civil Rights Act. The issue, ignored by the Obama administration, was whether the students were discriminated against based on their actual or perceived Jewish ancestry or ethnicity. Kenneth L. Marcus, the new assistant secretary of education for civil rights, decided that the case deserved another look.
Nestled in the Han River in the middle of South Korea’s bustling capital of Seoul, Yeoui Island is hardly where one would expect to find the largest mega-church in the world. Home to the city’s business and financial district, its skyline dotted with skyscrapers, the island boasts some of the country’s most powerful institutions, such as the Korean stock exchange and the headquarters of LG, the international conglomerate.
The AfD’s opponents, who often brand the party as “far right” or “extremist,” claim that the party’s alleged ties to neo-Nazi groups pose an existential threat to Germany’s constitutional order. The AfD’s supporters counter that Germany’s politically correct establishment, afraid of losing its power and influence, is attempting to outlaw a legitimate party that has pledged to put the interests of German citizens first.
Israel’s Palestinian foes regard “martyrdom” as the supremely highest expression of Islamic sacredness. Nonetheless, there are certain conspicuously prominent disjunctions between the relevant obligations of faith and expectations of international law. Unambiguously, only the latter set of obligations can offer a suitably authoritative source for assessing Palestinian resorts to armed force.
This is the case even when the stated objective of such resorts would be “self-determination” and/or “national liberation.”
“Setting fire to the ground,” a “major catastrophe,” bringing “new instability” are the headlines that have greeted Donald Trump’s unorthodox decisions over the past year. Withdrawing from UNESCO, moving the US Embassy, leaving the Iran deal and cutting funding to UNRWA and funding for Pakistan were seen as extreme decisions in the Middle East and around the world. Insofar as there is a “Trump Doctrine,” it has been to call this bluff.
In the mind-set of Trump and his team, the time has come for the United States to move quickly to reverse decades of foreign policy norms, ending the status quo, and ripping up what the previous administrations did.
The jihadi assault on and massacre of Christians continued unabated throughout the Muslim word. According to one report titled, “Armed gangs WIPE OUT 15 villages in mass Christian slaughter in Nigeria,” several Islamic terrorists “stormed through 15 villages to massacre Christians and destroy their churches in a violent crackdown against the religion…. Dozens of people have been killed after the gangs ransacked towns and villages to clear them of all aspects of the Christian faith.
Wars are raging in various parts of the Middle East, although there is a tendency not to call the conflicts by that name because of the fear conjured up by the word.
One conflagration is the war Iran is waging against those – headed by Israel – who stand in the way of its plans to take over the entire Middle East.
Another is the Assad regime’s war to take back control of the entire country, and a third is the PLO’s battle for survival.
Much has been written about the first of these wars, and reports have claimed that from early 2017 on, Israel has launched over 200 attacks in Syria, mainly at targets connected to Iran.