This morning, I read the beautiful story of the experiences of the family of Nadrah, a Syrian child, who along with her mother came to Israel for care following her heart transplant. Save a Child’s Heart, an Israel based organization, brings children to Israel from countries around the world in order to provide life saving healthcare and brought Nadrah to Israel. They have aided several thousand children over the years, most of whom are from the Palestinian Authority. Rabbi Michael Boyden wrote of a similar case wherein a kidney from a Jewish child was harvested and used to save the life of a Palestinian child.
These stories of Israeli compassion are not the exception, but the rule. So expected are they that doctors from territories and nations that are avowed enemies of Israel simply assume that Israel will not only take in people in need, but will treat them. A Syrian doctor literally attached a note with all of the relevant medical information to a patient that he sent across the border into Israel recently because only in Israel could the necessary medical treatment occur.
When we talk of what Israel must do in order to obtain peace, when we speak of concessions and compromises that may need to be made, we must never lose sight of what must not be conceded or compromised. Among those things are ability to live securely and safely and the ability and willingness to perform acts of g’milut chasadim, acts of unrequited kindness, for children such such as Nadrah or Samir, children of those who declare themselves to be enemies.
Israel serves as a beacon of hope and kindness in a region brimming with hatred and inhumanity. It certainly has its faults, but far more light than darkness shines forth into the world beyond its borders. May ever be so.