A Study in Contrasts, Israeli and Kuwaiti Treatment of Traumatized Syrians

(posted on February 27th 2018, by Aboud Dandachi)

In 2015, at the height of the exodus of Syrian refugees to countries in the West, the wealthy Arab Gulf countries were very conspicuous in their refusal to take in any Syrian refugees. Indeed, Kuwait used the fact that many of these refugees would be suffering from psychological issues from the trauma of the war, as an excuse to shirk any and all responsibility for their care. Such was the composition and attitude of the group of nations that labeled itself “Friends of the Syrian People”.

Fast forward to 2018, and it took a very enterprising bit of reporting by Daniella P. Cohen over at The Medialine, to bring to light yet another aspect of Israel’s already astonishing and unprecedented care and aid to Syrian victims of the war. In addition to providing treatment to Syrian wounded, cancer patients, and children with hearing disabilities, Israel apparently is even going so far as to provide treatment to Syrians suffering from trauma and other psychological issues.

Israel’s Galilee Medical Center has treated over 2,300 Syrians, forty percent of whom were women and children. In addition to the expected trauma of war, some Syrians arrive at the center unconscious. The shock of finding themselves being treated in an Israeli hospital by Israeli medical staff has been so profound that the center has setup a procedure to acclimatize new patients to their unexpected surroundings.

“Hana Solomon, Director of the Social Work Department at the Galilee Medical Center, stated that while most of the Syrians at the center have “never had the serious problem of classic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), there have been those experiencing suicidal tendencies and acute stress reactions. We have had children with depression who were seen by our psychiatrists.” ”

This at a time when even most universal health care plans in better off societies don’t even cover therapy. While the “Friends of Syria” may be content to occasionally write a few cheques for tents to house Syrian refugees indefinitely, Israel continues to astonish, astound and amaze with its incredible humanitarian efforts to a people from a country to which the term “friend” could never have applied since those two countries came into being. Israel’s humanitarian efforts are as ground breaking as they are under reported by most of the world’s media. Medialine isn’t a well known name among media outlets, but to their credit they have reported on an amazing aspect of Israel’s aid to Syrians.

The complete article is available here. 

By |2018-02-28T00:09:26+00:00February 28, 2018|Israel|0 Comments

One Line That Sums Up the Difference Between Israel & Arab Countries

(posted on February 19th 2018, by Aboud Dandachi)

Ynet News had an article on the latest developments in Operation Good Neighbor, the IDF’s efforts to help Syrian victims of the conflict in that country.

Of particular interest was the following passage:

“…in recent months, Israel saw wounded and sick Syrians coming from as far as Damascus. There are no specialists on the other side, as most of them have fled….The wounded come in civilian clothes, and are no longer surprised to be allowed in.”

Remarkable. And this at a time when both Jordan and Lebanon have closed their borders to Syrians, whatever their situation or emergency.

Apparently in 2018, a Syrian sitting in the Syrian capital knows they can get medical treatment in the Golan, while being denied any sort of assistance from Syria’s Arab neighbors. There can hardly be a more illuminating demonstration of the differences between Israeli society and Arab ones. Over the past five years, more than one thousand Syrian children have been treated in Israeli hospitals.

The Ynet article also included information about the aid and assistance given to Syrian children with hearing issues. Costing around 5,000 NIS per hearing aid, the effort has been funded by Morris Kahn, a South-African born Israeli entrepreneur. It seems there has been no effort spared by Israeli and Jewish communities to help Syrians in need, while in contrast Syria’s other neighbors expend just as much effort in keeping Syrians away from their countries.

The full Ynet article can be read here.

By |2018-02-19T19:27:42+00:00February 19, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

An Indication on How Comprehensive Israeli Aid to Syrians Has Been.

(posted on 12 February 2018, by Aboud Dandachi)

The Jerusalem Post had a lengthy and detailed piece and video on Operation Good Neighbor, the Israel Defense Force’s efforts to help wounded Syrians and provide aid across the border to Syrian communities in need.

Of particular interest was details of some of the aid provided by Israel NGOs and the Israeli government, whose scope and breadth was very comprehensive in terms of what communities suffering from a war would need:

542,880 liters of gas; 174 tons of clothes; 13 generators; 400 items of medical equipment, such as incubators and surgery room equipment; and 113 pallets holding 2,214 boxes of medicines have been given to Syrian civilians with the assistance of the IDF.

In addition, 6,351 packages of diapers have been sent across the border as well as 600 meters of piping to re-establish ruined water infrastructure, providing running water to 5,000 people in the villages. Mobile caravans have also been delivered to Syrians across the border to use as clinics and classrooms.

It is apparent from the quantity and quality of the assistance that Operation Good Neighbor is providing that this was and remains an extremely serious effort on the part of Israel and Israelis. This is not a case of “cheques for better tents” as often has been the case in the region. Indeed, Israelis are providing aid to Syrians with the same commitment and dedication as they would provide aid to faraway Jewish communities.

The entire article is available here. 

By |2018-02-12T18:46:22+00:00February 12, 2018|Israel|0 Comments
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