I am a doctor on the most dangerous border, and I attend to those who need my help regardless of their origin.
TSFAT, Israel – I have been working as a dentist for 22 years. I am in charge of the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Unit of the Ziv hospital. The hospital is located 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) from Lebanon and 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from Syria.
I experienced the attacks [during the Syrian Civil War] in Lebanon first-hand. Our hospital serves more than 200,000 inhabitants with only 350 beds. Since the Syrian conflict began, we have served more than 5,000 Syrians and 17 percent of them were children.
Some of the medical staff speak Arabic so we can communicate with patients, but when neither Arabic nor English can help, the language of the eyes is the most sincere and powerful form of communication I can employ.
Nothing stops me from saving lives. Although our countries are enemies, I establish friendships. My destiny is to heal; that is what I promised in my Hippocratic oath. As a health servant, I must be at the service of others regardless of whether they are a friend or foe.
Between 2013 and 2018, Israel provided humanitarian services to those wounded from the civil war in Syria. Army ambulances brought the wounded to us in mass. These victims believed we were their enemies, but they soon realized we were there to save lives.
One day, I was operating on a patient who was anesthetized and I began to hear noises. The sounds intensified until the ceiling began to shake. I was so afraid but had to keep a cool head and keep working.
I felt the effect of about 30 missiles that day. It was like thunder striking close by, making everything move. Panic sets in. I was aware of everything that was happening and I thought about my family and loved ones.
Until 2006, operating rooms had no protection. After those episodes, the hospitals had to build an operating room and emergency room with missile protection. Even now, a new intensive care wing is being constructed under this strict protocol. The bombings continue but doctors and patients are a little more protected.
Three years ago, a boy arrived at the hospital suffering from a gunshot wound to the face. It entered through the side of his eye and exited through the nape of his neck.
Over time, the bones had been poorly sealed. He could not open his mouth and was living on a liquid diet. Fear swept through me as I never knew such horror was possible. After a four-hour intervention, we were able to save him.
The best reward I ever received was caring for a girl with juvenile diabetes who had no more insulin. She came to the hospital to live out her final days. She arrived malnourished with many oral problems.
We saved her life, and she was able to return with her mother to Syria. She comes to the hospital every six months to get insulin because they don’t have it in Syria. She says she has to bury her insulin so that it does not get stolen.
At our last visit, she thanked me with such happiness. Her life is completely transformed.
In the hospital, people can coexist. We serve Jews, Christian Arabs, Muslim Arabs, and immigrants from all over the world. In the corridors, you can hear many languages. We know how to live together, side-by-side, sharing a table in the restaurant and throughout the facility.
Although our countries did not sign the peace agreement, this is not a war of the people. I dream that the patients who are helped in these border countries will become the leaders who fight for an end to the conflict.
They can be an instrument for both countries to sign a peace agreement because they can attest to Israel’s humanitarian aid and the lives we save regardless of a person’s origin.
Although civil wars continue in their homelands, patients yearn to return and to reunite with their families and loved ones.
The patients always thank us; we hear it in many languages. But I want to thank them for choosing us and putting their lives in our hands. Their choice is a significant act of love.
They found themselves standing between life and death. We face that battle together – the medical and security teams, the patients, and their families.
As a result, life continues. I hope that our neighboring countries can find a way to peace. Peace with our “enemies” is possible. We have proven it.
Translations provided by Orato World Media are intended to result in the end translated document being understandable in the end language. Although every effort is made to ensure our translations are accurate we cannot guarantee the translation will be without errors.
Pledge to be a #ConsciousCitizen today and demand #GlobalCooperationNow! by signing this petition. Sign Our Petition.