Monday, November 9, 2015


 This isn't really a good-news story. This is a sad story about a special place where Jews and Arabs come together to heal the broken bodies of victims and their attackers, some of them children.
The staff call them "Bert and Ernie" or "Fried and Eid."
Ahmed Eid, 65, is a Muslim from the Galilee village of Dabburiya. Elchanan Fried, 41, is a Jew from Petah Tikva in central Israel. They both live in West Jerusalem.
Eid wears green scrubs and a scrub cap. Fried wears green scrubs and a knitted kippa, or skullcap. Eid is the head of surgery at Hadassah University Hospital in Mount Scopus. Fried is head of the intensive-care unit. They both keep glancing at the time on their smartphones. They are on call.
For the past month — during a wave of Palestinian attacks on Jews and harsh Israeli responses, including shoot-to-kill countermeasures — the two have worked side by side.
On Oct. 12, two Palestinian cousins, ages 13 and 15, from East Jerusalem stabbed a 13-year-old Jewish kid on his bicycle outside a candy store. They also wounded a 21-year-old Jewish Israeli man.
The 13-year-old victim, whose name is being withheld at his parents' request, arrived at the hospital in terrible shape.
"No blood pressure. Pulse was 40. Ventilated at the scene," said Eid, who rushed into surgery and began to work on his patient.
"More dead than alive," said Fried, who came to assist.
So did a Palestinian anesthesiologist from the West Bank, who worked alongside Muslim, Christian, ultra-Orthodox Jewish and secular doctors and nurses, some from Israel, some from the Jewish settlements, others from Palestinian towns.
When the patient was stabilized, Eid went briefly to the waiting room to speak with the patient's father.
Eid told him: "Listen, your son is still alive. It's going to be okay." Eid noticed the father was a religious Jew.
"I told him my name is Ahmed Eid, I'm director of surgery. Then I made a joke, I guess. I said, 'An Ahmed stabbed your son, and an Ahmed is going to save your son.' "
Both doctors said they never ask whether the patient who comes through the door is a victim or an assailant.
"We don't ask who you are. We treat the terrorist the same as we treat the victim," Eid said.
Fried was asked his opinion. "I rarely agree with Dr. Eid, but in this case, I concur." He was making a joke. Both doctors smiled and looked at the time on their phones again.
Fried described Hadassah hospital as "a unique bubble." He said half his staff in the ICU are Arabs. "Sometimes someone complains, but very, very rarely."
"We treat patients by medical priority. Most sick first. To us, this is obvious. Maybe to the outside world, it is hard to understand," said Osnat ­Levtzion-Korach, the hospital's director.
At the same time that Fried and Eid were helping the two victims, a few miles away at Hadassah University Hospital in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ein Kerem, a Jewish doctor treated the Palestinian assailant, 13-year-old Ahmed Manasra.
His 15-year-old cousin was shot dead at the scene by an Israeli police officer. Ahmed Manasra was run over by a car as he was fleeing.
Miklosh Bala, 46, director of the trauma unit, attended. Bala was born in the Soviet Union and came to Israel years ago, one of a million Russian Jews to immigrate here.
"The patient arrived accompanied by the security services, but it was not immediately clear what had happened. His age was not obvious, although it was clear he was a child," Bala recalled.
He does not call Manasra "the terrorist."
"We did not have a long conversation with him. We just did what was needed. He was conscious. We took his vitals and did what we would do for anyone who arrives in our department. He had a CT scan, a full medical evaluation, he was checked by a surgeon, an orthopedic doctor, everybody, it was all standard for someone with his injuries.
"Only afterwards we heard the details of the incident," Bala said. "Suddenly the kid was in the headlines. But when he first arrived, we did not know what had happened. All we wanted was to see that he was alive, his eyes were open."
Washington Post

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