The old adage of, “a picture paints a thousand words” is given new meaning by the picture below:


Where:  The Pediatric ICU at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, Israel

When: During “Operation Cast Lead.”  The IDF operation in January 2009 that involved a massive military incursion into the Gaza Strip to track down and subdue the sources of terrorist rocket fire into the civilian population in Israel’s south.

Who is in the picture?   On the left, The Palestinian Arab grandmother of a baby from the Gaza strip.   In the middle:  Fatma, an Israeli-Arab student who is a volunteer translator at the hospital.  To the right, yours truly, an Israeli-Jewish Tour Guide.  Just out of the picture: forty participants on an “Amazing Israel” Taglit/Birthright tour of Israel.

What is transpiring?  The grateful grandmother is explaining in Arabic how the IDF allowed her and her grandchild to leave the Gaza strip, despite the fact that there was a war going on, and to travel to Wolfson Medical Center for life saving cardiac surgery performed pro bono by a Jewish Surgeon operating on behalf of the “Save a Child’s Heart” organization.  Fatma is translating in Hebrew to me and I am relaying the conversation to my group in English.

The Save a Child’s Heart (SACH) organization, according to the mission statement on its website ( is,

An Israeli-based international humanitarian project, whose mission is to improve the quality of pediatric cardiac care for children from developing countries who suffer from heart disease and to create centers of competence in these countries. SACH is totally dedicated to the idea that every child deserves the best medical treatment available, regardless of the child’s nationality, religion, colour, gender or financial situation.

After visiting the Wolfson Medical center my Birthright group then went to volunteer at the recuperation center where the children and their parents or caregivers, mainly hailing from developing or Arab countries, are either preparing for or recuperating from the surgery that will allow them to live normal lives.  Many of my Birthright group were deeply moved and asked why there is so little awareness and appreciation outside Israel for all the good that Israel does for the world. I am playing my part by raising awareness of this wonderful organization, which is one of many Israeli organizations dedicated to making the world a better place.

Israel strives to be a, “light unto the nations.”  Daniel Gordis succinctly summed it up when he stated that, in addition to striving for the benefit our own citizens,

“This country has become a country, with all of its imperfections, that sees as part of its purpose as looking out for other people.

SACH childPost surgery patient ready to enjoy the rest of his life.

Photo: T. Book, (c) 2013