The family of Yagel and Hillel Yaniv – the two brothers killed in a terrorist shooting attack in February – on Sunday met the four recipients who received their corneas. The meeting will take place at the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva, where the transplant transplants took place.
Hillel Menachem Yaniv, aged 21, and Yagel Yaniv, aged 19, of the Har Bracha settlement in Samaria, were killed in the Palestinian village of Huwara. They were buried at the Mt. Herzl military cemetery. They had signed ADI organ donor cards.
Yagel and Hillel’s parents were able to “look into their sons’ ” eyes again as Ziona Zalzberg, Ron Carmeli, Itzhak Buskila and Tal Almos thank them for the gift of sight that their sons gave them.
Who were the people who received the transplants?
Ziona Zalzberg is a 68-year-old woman from Migdal Haemek who loves to travel, but ever since her vision deteriorated, she wasn’t able to travel on her own and felt she was a burden on her family asking them to help her with everyday tasks. With her new cornea, she is now able to do these tasks on her own.
Ron Carmeli is a 66-year-old man from Petach Tikva who dreamed of being able to see his granddaughter and hold her and do with her what every grandparent enjoys. With his new cornea, he can play with her and take her to the zoo.
Itzhak Buskila is a 42-year-old husband and father of three children from Tirat HaCarmel. Prior to the transplant, he had terrible vision in both of his eyes that made it very difficult for him at work in warehouse logistics at a major food distributor. With his new cornea, he can continue providing for his family doing a job he enjoys.
Tal Almos is a 44-year-old husband and father of three children from Atlit who was born with an eye disease and had a cornea transplant quite a long time ago. But in 2021, he lost his vision completely because of an accident that made it hard for him to do his work in the Israeli security forces. With his second cornea transplant, he can continue working and providing for his family. He was not able to attend the ceremony.
Hospital director-general Dr. Eran Rotman told the family: “We first met you when you arrived at the hospital about three months ago, right after Yagel and Hillel were brought here in critical condition. For us as a medical team, this was a particularly difficult moment. You have shown greatness that completely changed the lives of four people. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
The young men’s mother, Esti Yaniv, said; “We didn’t choose to be in this situation; we were chosen. We miss them so much, but the great light from their eyes will continue.” The father, Shalom, added that “There are many drops of water, but there are differences among them. There are drops of water that reach the salt sea, but our sons’ got to reach the ground and to grow values, hopes and feelings.”
Prof. Eitan Livni, director of the hospital’s cornea unit who performed two of the transplants said: “I remember that moment when I saw the name ‘Yaniv’ appear next to two corneas. I immediately realized that it was the young men from the terrible attack, and I felt a chill. It is really unusual to have two corneas from two brothers.”