While Kiev and its environs have been relatively peaceful since the bloody clashes of February 18 and 19, hundreds of people are still suffering from wounds they incurred in the confrontation with forces loyal to then-president, Victor Yanukovych.
But according to JTA news, the efforts of volunteers in both Kiev and Israel made it possible for seven severely wounded patients to be airlifted to Israel Friday 7, where they are scheduled to receive treatment at the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot and at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem.
Many of the wounded already have undergone multiple surgeries locally. But care in Ukrainian hospitals is deeply lacking, said Tzvi Arieli, a coordinator of the treatment effort who has lived in both Ukraine and Israel.
“When you go into a public hospital in Ukraine, you don’t know if you will leave dead,” Arieli told JTA.
The initiative stemmed from the desire of Ukrainian Jews to help their countrymen using the advanced medical capacities of Israeli hospitals, Arieli wrote in an open letter to supporters.
“We are a group of Jews from Ukraine,” Arieli wrote. “What binds us together is our Jewish identity and our deep desire to do something to alleviate the suffering of those who have been injured during recent events.”
“We love our fellow Ukrainians,” he continued, “and we are proud of the Jewish state, Israel, whose first-class medical treatment will give our countrymen the best chance at resuming a normal life.”
Dr. Valeriya Babchik, a doctor at Kaplan, helped to organize the project, along with Arieli and Marina Lysak, a Kiev resident.
Alexander Levin, an American Jewish businessman with extensive ties to Ukraine, donated $50,000 to the initiative, which covered the initial costs of transporting the first group. But Arieli and others estimate the cost of transportation and medical care for 20-30 severely wounded individuals to reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not higher.