A Christian church and a Jewish hospital in Israel have united to help provide medical care to severely ill, undiagnosed babies and children from war-torn Gaza and the West Bank.
Assaf Harofeh Medical Center near Tel Aviv and Living Bread International Church, which has offices in Florida, Israel, and Gaza, have teamed up for the new "Rescue the Child" project with the purpose of healing children who have not received adequate healthcare in often restricted areas.
Karen Dunham, director of Living Bread International Church, stated, "I was in the maternity ward of the main hospital of the Gaza Strip during Christmas. I saw such deplorable conditions. I saw children dying, holes in the roof, they had no milk, no blankets, no sheets. They had no bottles for new born babies. People were scrambling around the city trying to find medicine to bring back the medicine to give to the doctor to give to the children."
Dunham continued, "I was so upset. I called the Israeli army. It was just really wonderful. The captain said, 'Calm down. We're going to show you how to bring those children out and get them some help and coordinate it so you can bring them out of Gaza. Then I knew the Lord had done something tremendous. I went around Jerusalem looking for a hospital that would take the children. Then, I met a pastor who said that he knew of a hospital that has great compassion."
Within one month's time, the hospital, the government and militaries of every region that would be affected gave "Rescue the Child" clearance to transport the children for medical care.
The "Rescue the Child" contract between Living Bread International Church (LBIC) and AHMC has the church and its volunteers responsible for bringing the child to the hospital, back to their homes, and also for all of the follow-up bandages, medications and follow-up appointment transportation back to the hospital.
LBIC locates parishioners' child-aged relatives who are in desperate need of health care services in Gaza and West Bank through personal relationships with parishioners in its Jericho home churches. It then connects them to the Israeli medical care facility. There is no limitation to the disease or condition of the child that will be treated, and they are willing to do any type of needed surgery.
Israel has been the target of over 25,000 terrorist attacks, leaving several hundred thousand wounded. Assaf Haroreh Medical Center (AHMC) in Israel has provided medical care to many of Israel's wounded. With a 65-acre campus and over 3,000 staff members, the hospital is located in Zerifin and covers the towns of Rishon le Zion, Lod, Ramla to Beit Shemesh. The area has the highest population growth in Israel, comprising large numbers of Jewish immigrants from Russia and Ethiopia, and Muslim and Christian Arabs from Ramla and Lod.
With over 800 hospital beds, AHMC's doctors have taken an oath written by Assaf Ben Brachiahu to care for patients. Brachiahu practiced medicine in the Middle East during the 5th century and was known as the Jewish Hippocrates. He authored the "Oath of the Jewish Doctor" about 1,500 years ago. The oath incorporated Jewish ideals, customs and ethics. Brachianhu's creed and the hospital's motto is: "...And you shall not harden your hearts against the poor and needy, but heal them."
Dr. Benjamin Davidson, director of AHMC, stated, "That oath actually gives us the legacy. The legacy is, don't look down upon your brother – not your patient – but heal him. Healing is about being helping a human being both spiritually and physically. That's healing. The ability to treat the patient as a human being. That is the spirit of Assaf Harofeh."
While some are opposed to a Christian church and a Jewish hospital partnering, Dunham states, "Our war has never been against the people. Our war is against the principality of terror. We want to help those who have been a victim of the principality of terrorism. They have tried everything else; I believe love is the missile that will work."
LBIC also plans to reach out to the children and their families through giving a book on forgiveness or a copy of the Bible or the Jesus video, although this is not the main priority.
"Rescue the Child" has the potential to help over 100,000 children if they can raise adequate funding. The directors are in the process of fundraising through telethons and fundraising events.