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Arab Boy from Jenin Saved in Afula Hospital

A Jenin Arab’s antipathy is replaced by appreciation after his son’s life is saved in HaEmek Hospital in Afula.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 6/7/2010, 12:16 PM / Last Update: 6/7/2010, 12:33 PM

Israel news photo

The antipathy of a Jenin Arab was replaced by appreciation after his son’s life was saved in HaEmek (Valley) Hospital in Afula.

"My son and I are not the same as we were before this happened,” the boy’s father said afterwards, “and I will share this with my family and friends." The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported on the story.

The incident began this past Thursday, when 15-year-old Mohammed Kalalwe of Jenin, a Palestinian Authority-controlled city in Samaria, was working in the field. At one point, the boy noticed a deadly viper snake and tried killing it with a rock, but he was unable to avoid being bitten in his right palm. Screams and panic ensued, and within minutes, the boy's father, Hafed, grabbed his stricken son and rushed him to the Jenin Hospital.

The Arab-run hospital was ill-prepared to treat the boy, and despite the common presence of snakes in the area, had no anti-serum. The hospital staff decided to send the boy by ambulance to the HaEmek Medical Center in Afula. Hafed later related that he was genuinely afraid to be taken to the Jewish hospital, because he was sure that he and his son would be ignored. His son's palm and arm were critically swollen and the pain was unbearable.

The reality of HaEmek contrasted sharply with Hafed’s negative expectations. They were immediately greeted in Arabic and rushed into the emergency room, where the multi-ethnic staff administered life-saving anti-serum and brought the boy back from the brink of death. Mohammed remained in the pediatric intensive care unit for the next two days, and is now resting comfortably in HaEmek's pediatric surgical department. It is expected that he will be released in the next two days.

Asked by a hospital staffer how he felt now about HaEmek Hospital and the Israelis he had come into contact with, the father stared his Israeli questioner straight in the eyes and said, "Our people do not know the truth about you, and our medicine has a long way to go. My son and I are not the same as we were before this happened and I will share this with my family and friends. May Allah bless all of you."

"Good Thing There are Snakes"
Walking back to his office, the hospital staffer passed HaEmek’s Head of Emergency Services, Dr. Azziz Daroushe, a Muslim from the nearby Israeli village of Iksal. Asked him what he thought about this latest case where another life from Jenin had been saved in HaEmek, Daroushe answered with a twinkle in his eye and a knowing grin, "It's a good thing there are snakes." 

Established in 1924, HaEmek Medical Center is a community hospital serving a population of Jews and Arabs, equally divided. With a mixed medical staff of Jews and Arabs, its guiding philosophy is "Coexistence Through Medicine."