In yet another intriguing occurrence in the Iranian-Israeli relations saga, a 16 year-old Iranian boy with a particularly vicious brain tumor has been flown to Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer in a final effort to save his life. Ynet and Ha’aretz reported that the boy arrived at Sheba, widely regarded as one of the most technologically advanced centers in the Middle East, from Turkey on Friday.
Sheba CEO Zeev Rotstein said it wasn’t the first time Israeli doctors have treated children from adversarial states.
“We hope that with the love and affection we give these kids we are paving the way for at least some understanding between people,” he said. “We can’t change the politics. We are not politicians. We do this because we feel it is our job.”
This is just the latest noteworthy occurrence framed within the animosity between Iran and Israel over the past few years. We all know about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad denying the Holocaust, for example, and how Israel has been mulling a pre-emptive strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. Iran has become a particularly sensitive topic for Jews all around the world.
But the intense discord between the two countries also filters down into other realms, like the Special Olympics this past summer. Too often, the countries’ icy stance has led to unnecessary escalations.
Which is why it is so refreshing to see Israeli citizens helping Iranian citizens. The boy’s father expressed his thanks earlier today:
“I can’t thank the Jewish people enough for all the love and support we’ve been getting…
“I ask you, all of you, to pray for my son. A father’s love for his son goes beyond borderlines and religion… It is important to me that you know that the majority of Iranians don’t hate Israel. We are all people and we all have the same feelings.
“All I want now is to hear my son’s laughter again. I’m sure any parent in my condition would do anything they can to save their child. My wife and my baby daughter are waiting for us back in Tehran. We are all praying for the best,” he added.
Unfortunately, everything is far from hunky dory. Tests showed the boy’s cancer has spread through the spinal column.
And as for relations with Iran and Israel, well, Sheba is not releasing the patient’s identity to protect him and his family from negative reactions when they return to Iran.