Metro Grapevine: Gift of life

News roundup from the center of the country.

Rami Levy
■ GIFT-OF-life organizations in Israel and elsewhere in the world truly live up to their titles. Individually they deal with bone-marrow transplants, heart transplants, liver transplants and kidney transplants. There are others dealing with corneal transplants, which, when successful, give recipients a new perspective on life; but unlike the above-mentioned organs, corneal transplants don’t actually save life. With the exception of heart and corneal transplants, where the donors have to be dead, the gift of life becomes as much a joy to the donor as to the recipient.
Yinon Vashdai, 27, of Karnei Shomron, a Magen David Adom volunteer and a medical student at the Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School, was found to be a perfect match for Lirit Karsel, 38, from Kfar Saba, who was in desperate need of a kidney transplant.
Karsel had been suffering for 11 years. Her younger brother David had proved to be a good match but wanted to complete his army service before parting with a kidney. He promised to donate one as soon as he returned to civilian life. Sadly, he was killed in action, and Karsel’s chances of receiving a donor kidney were delayed indefinitely.
Due to her condition, she was unable to give birth, but desperately wanted children, and has two sets of twins born to surrogate mothers. Even then, her condition limited her ability to be the kind of mother that she wanted to be.
Fortunately, Vashdai, who had frequently accompanied kidney patients to their treatments, had a great deal of empathy for such people and was more than happy to not only donate a kidney to Karsel but also to meet her and rejoice with her after the operation proved to be successful.
For the meeting between the two, Vashdai was accompanied by Rabbi Yeshayahu Haber, who was himself a kidney recipient, and heads the Gift of Life organization.
According to Haber, over the past year 126 men and women donated kidneys, and in so doing presented recipients with the gift of life. Karsel was elated by the prospect of at last being able to live a normal existence and to lift up her children for a cuddle.
■ ANYONE WHO was at Sarona Market on Thursday night, October 20, would have seen long lines of people at the iDigital midnight launch of iPhone 7. Police stopped the crowd from storming the store. It was estimated that some 1,500 people wanted to be among the first Israelis to own the latest iPhone, which retails at more than NIS 4,000.
According to reports, sales at iDigital and other stores broke all previous records. Jerusalem businessman Rami Levy has also done well by iPhone 7, and through his Mobile Rami Levy network, which has more than 20 outlets from the extreme north of the country to as far south as Eilat, has also found eager buyers. In the United States, the iPhone 7 is more than a third less expensive than in Israel.
■ IN OCTOBER 2014, President Reuven Rivlin caused a sensation when he became the first president of the State of Israel to attend a memorial ceremony for the 1956 massacre in the Arab village of Kafr Kasim that left 47 villagers dead. President Shimon Peres had visited the village and apologized for the massacre, but it was Rivlin who had the moral impetus and the courage to attend the memorial service and to yet again apologize on Israel’s behalf. It was a controversial move that excited both media and political attention.
Now, the Jerusalem-headquartered Israel Democracy Institute is using the massacre as a foundation for an in-depth discussion at Kafr Kasim to examine the State of Israel’s relationship with its Arab citizens. Unfortunately, the event, which is to take place at Kafr Kasim Community Center on Sunday, October 30, is by invitation only. There are many people who would want to attend and be part of the endeavor at peaceful, harmonious and friendly coexistence.
Opening remarks will be made by Kafr Kasim Mayor Adel Badir and IDC president Yohanan Plesner. They will be followed by prizewinning author Sami Michael, who will speak on how relations between the State of Israel and its Arab population have changed since the massacre and how they still need to change.
Rabbi Michael Melchior, a former politician who is now heavily involved in interfaith work aimed at bringing Jews and Arabs closer together, will talk about the possibilities of building a trusting relationship between the State of Israel and its Arab citizens.
The dialogue between Arab-Israeli and Jewish-Israeli participants will then be open for discussion, with Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer as moderator.
Among the discussants will be former MKs Haim Oron and Ibrahim Sarsour, Prof. Yuli Tamir and MK Aida Touma-Sliman. The discussion will be held in Hebrew and Arabic.