A group of more than 40 Syrian mothers and children crossed over the Golan Heights border from Syria to northern Israel in the pre-dawn hours on Wednesday to receive treatment in Israeli hospitals.
“Operation Doctor’s Appointment” took the young Syrians with chronic health problems by bus to the Ziv Medical Center in Tzfat, where they were seen by physicians and entertained by a medical clown.
Israel has treated thousands of Syrians who have been injured in the seven-year Syrian civil war, as well as many people who have lost access to urgent medical care due to the fighting. Some of the Syrians were brought into Israel for treatment while thousands of others were treated in field hospitals staffed with Israeli medical-care teams.
In an interview with Ynet news, Israeli military health officer Maj. Sergei Kutikov said many of Wednesday’s patients would be treated and returned to Syria the same day, while others would come back to Ziv for multiple treatments or even surgery.
“We were afraid in the beginning to come [because we view Israelis] as Zionists and enemies,” said an anonymous Syrian mother quoted by Ynet, who then added that “it’s the opposite.”