Aid for Syria beyond Ziv

An Israeli medic helping a Syrian child.

THE Israeli military has released new information that gives a sense of the scale of aid it is providing to Syrians – and spoken to The AJN about how the operation extends far beyond children getting treatment in the Galilee.

More than 4000 people have been brought from Syria to Israel to receive medical aid according to the IDF, which has now revealed that it has sent vehicles – including two ambulances – and even six donkeys which are used by medical professionals in Syria.

It has transferred seven generators, water pipes to rebuild Syrian infrastructure and equipment for a temporary school, as well as 120,000 gallons of fuel for operating wells and heating homes and bakery ovens.

Other items moved across the border by Israeli officers include 40 tons of flour, 225 tons of food, 12 tons of shoes and 55 tons of winter clothing.

These details give the clearest picture so far about the work that Israel does for citizens of Syria – a country that is still at war with the Jewish State. Until now, officers have been reticent to go into details. Even last month when The AJN covered a ceremony where Australia-based charity Project Rozana gave $25,000 to Tzfat’s Ziv Hospital for the treatment of Syrians, very limited information was available on the overall scale of aid efforts.

The IDF has now stated that a year ago, its Northern Command established the headquarters of Operation Good Neighbour, to formalise and expand the help provided. “Very quickly, we understood that everything related to routine healthcare was very problematic on the other side,” the project’s medical director Sergey Kotikov told The AJN.

As medical systems have “collapsed,” the IDF has been trying to cater for some of the most urgent needs. Diabetics, for example, struggle to get their hands on insulin so Israel has dispatched insulin along with 90 pallets of pain killers and anaesthetics. Israel also gives diabetics the know-how for managing their condition in areas where clinics with specialists have long since disappeared. “For diabetics the situation is a real problem,” said Dr Kotikov. “We tell them how to manage their diabetes.”

Israeli doctors are in constant communication with Syrian counterparts, who aren’t only assessing patients on their side of the border and getting them ready for transfer to Israel, but are also ensuring follow-up care in Syria. Doctors who treat Syrians in Israel often say that they worry for their patients’ welfare when they get back home, but the latest IDF information suggests that many are being well cared for.

The ongoing conversation with doctors on the Syrian side of the border is so good that 50 Syrians have been treated in Israel and then returned to Israel for follow-up treatment.