Save a Child's Heart Program: 3,000 Palestinian children rescued

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Five-year-old Amir Ichya Mabchuch from Gaza was taken Sunday to the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, where Israeli doctors performed open-heart surgery to save his life.

This is the 3,000th child from the Palestinian territories to have had such an operation in Israel as part of the Save a Child's Heart NGO program. Since 1995, the organization has assisted in critical operations for more than 6,000 children from 65 countries.

Mabchuch was first diagnosed with a heart defect at the age of two months. He was unable to perform simple tasks and was not allowed to run or even walk for long periods of time to keep his fragile heart from being overworked.

“When we were told that the Israeli doctors could perform the complex operation that Amir needed, we were so happy. Everyone here in Gaza says that Israeli doctors are the best in the world and can be completely trusted”, – says Amir's mother. The operation, which 5-year-old Amir underwent, was complex and required advanced technology not available in Gaza. Tamar Shapira says: “We have been saving the lives of Palestinian children for over twenty years now, and I always say that in addition to saving lives and giving hope to their families, we also manage to build bridges between different peoples.”

The Mabchuch family members said they would return to Gaza with deep gratitude to the Israelis who did their best to help Amir. Shortly before the operation, Amir's mother said, “I know there is always tension between Gaza and Israel, but that doesn't change my child's story. I trust Israeli doctors and I know that they will save my boy's life”.

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