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Minister for Regional Cooperation Tzahi Hanegbi visits Kurdish children receiving medical treatment in Israel.(Photo by: COURTESY REGIONAL COOPERATION MINISTRY)
Israel saves Kurdish children with heart disease despite Erdogan criticism
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
10/02/2017
To date, Israel's regional cooperation ministry has funded the life-saving treatment of about 500 children with heart diseases from Iraq, the Palestinian Authority, Syria and Jordan.
Following the criticism by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over Israel’s support for the Kurds, Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi visited Kurdish children who were receiving medical treatment here on Monday.

During a visit to Holon’s Wolfson Medical Center, the base for the Save a Child’s Heart program that performs congenital heart surgery on needy children from abroad, Hanegbi said: “Israel is the greatest defender of human rights.”

The minister was accompanied by ministry director-general Dr. Joseph Dreznin and leading Save A Child’s Heart benefactor Sylvan Adams. After being greeted by Wolfson doctors, Hanegbi and Dreznin toured the pediatric wards and met with children from Afghanistan, Togo, Zanzibar and the Palestinian Authority as well as from Kurdistan in Iraq.

Hanegbi said he was impressed by the construction work at the children’s hospital and the work being carried out by the International Center for Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery at Wolfson. Hanegbi’s ministry is participating in the funding of the building. The children's hospital will significantly improve the treatment conditions for the children of Holon, Bat Yam, south Tel Aviv and Jaffa, he said. It will also enable the Save a Child’s Heart organization to save many other children from around the world, he added.

To date, the ministry has funded the life-saving treatment of about 500 children with heart diseases from Iraq, the Palestinian Authority, Syria and Jordan.

“Israel is committed to the sanctity of human life wherever it is, and its aspiration to shape a better Middle East that promotes solidarity, concern for others and partnership across borders is clearly expressed in the Wolfson project,” Hanegbi said.

When the Kurdish independence issue was recently discussed in the cabinet, Hanegbi said: “While there are those who criticize Israel’s activity, reality proves that the State of Israel is the greatest defender of human rights and the principle of equality and will continue its efforts to assist them.”

Over the years, doctors and nurses volunteering for Save a Child’s Heart have treated more than 4,400 children from Africa, South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. They have also trained more than 100 medical workers in those countries, allowing them to save many other children.
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