Doctors argue they have a humanitarian responsibility to treat those wounded in Syria’s civil war, but the government is quick to say it will keep the scope of Israeli assistance limited.
By Ben Lynfield, Israeli soldiers armed with a missile launcher sit on a hill overlooking the Syrian village of Al Mouderia, in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, near the border between Israel and Syria, June 7.
Israel, which has never been reticent about publicizing its rescue missions when disaster strikes in far-flung corners of the globe, is being unusually discreet about its aid to victims of the fighting in neighboring Syria. For the past four months, doctors in the Jewish state have been quietly offering medical treatment to a small number of Syrians, even as the government and army push to limit the scope of Israeli assistance.
So far, Israeli doctors have treated about 100 Syrians, according to local press reports. Of those, 33 have been here in Ziv Hospital, which receives patients referred from a new army medical facility at the Syrian border, according to hospital director Oscar Embon. The army declined to respond to a query on how many people have been treated at its facility.
“This is a very cruel war,” Dr. Embon says. “It is, however, a source of satisfaction and pride that we can realize the values of our profession to cross borders, be humanistic, treat those in need, and help others.”
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