Genesis prize announces grant to fund breakthrough treatment for Syrian refugees

"We Jews have for centuries suffered as refugees. Now it’s time to help others."

By RACHEL COHEN
September 25, 2017 14:09
2 minute read.
Genesis prize announces grant to fund breakthrough treatment for Syrian refugees

MORRIS KAHN, Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky and Dr. Salman Zarka, director of Ziv Medical Center, announce a pilot program to aid Syrian children.. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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While victims of rocket and mortar fire from the Syrian civil war flee to Israel seeking medical treatment, many Syrians suffer wounds that are not seen by the naked eye but can be just as debilitating.

To that end, the Genesis Prize Foundation has launched a pilot program in cooperation with philanthropist and entrepreneur Morris Kahn to award a six-figure grant to Ziv Medical Center for treating hearing loss among Syrian children. Children who arrive at the Safed hospital will receive a “diagnostic examination, clinical treatments, surgery and rehabilitation,” the Genesis Prize Foundation announced on Monday.

“We are very pleased to partner on this project with Morris Kahn and are immensely grateful for his generosity,” said Stan Polovets, chairman and cofounder of the foundation. “We Jews have for centuries suffered as refugees.

Now it’s time to help others.”

“The brutal civil war in Syria has created nearly five million refugees, many of them children,” he said. “The Genesis Prize Foundation invites other donors, Jews and people of other faiths to support the great work being done by the Ziv Medical Center and other organizations that aim to alleviate the suffering of the wounded, especially children,” According to the foundation, one out of three children suffer from hearing loss, which can have a detrimental impact on the child’s growth and health. At Ziv, which has treated over 1,000 Syrians of all ages, children enrolled in this pilot program will receive custom-made hearing devices.

“I feel lucky to have the opportunity with my staff at the Ziv Medical Center to save lives and provide medical support for Syrian casualties during their time of need. It’s really important for me as a physician, as an Israeli and as a human being,” said Dr. Salman Zarka, director of center.

The grant dovetails with Genesis Prize laureate and artist Anish Kapoor’s dedication to aiding victims of one of the most devastating conflicts in modern history.

“Jews understand the horror of being forced from our homes. Jews understand, perhaps more painfully than anyone else, how it feels to be ‘the others.’ I want to show young Jews that, together, we can make a real difference for the displaced,” Kapoor said at the time he was selected to receive the prize.

In the tradition of previous laureates, Kapoor is regifting his $1 million prize to this cause and is working closely with the Genesis Prize Foundation to encourage other organizations to become more involved in the Syrian cause.

This report was written in cooperation with the Genesis Prize Foundation.

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