After a three-year COVID-19-related hiatus, the American Friends of Sheba hosted galas in New York and Los Angeles, highlighting Sheba’s global impact, contribution to the Abraham Accords, and commitment to the rehabilitation and recovery of wounded IDF soldiers. The events raised funds to expand Sheba's rehabilitation facilities.

Among other prominent speakers, Mr. Yoel Har-Even, Director of Sheba Global, outlined Sheba’s recent achievements, exploring various collaborations around the world, Sheba’s humanitarian efforts, as well as its role in implementing the Abraham Accords. Another notable speaker was Australian Friends of Sheba’s Executive Director Idan Goldberger, who shared his personal story of injury and recovery at Sheba.

Transcending Politics Through Healthcare

One of the main issues discussed by Mr. Har-Even during the events was the signing of the Abraham Accords in 2020, which opened up new opportunities for groundbreaking partnerships between Sheba and Gulf nations, including an MOU with Abu Dhabi’s health authority, as well as a collaboration with two Bahraini hospitals.

As reflected in its efforts following the Abraham Accords, Sheba is committed to providing care for non-Israeli patients, whether living thousands of miles away or closer to home. “One of the great untold stories about Sheba,” shared Mr. Har-Even in his speech, “is our 24/7/365 days a year outreach to Palestinians. Sheba has treated over 100,000 Palestinian men, women, and children from the Gaza strip and West Bank since the end of the Six-Day War. In Sheba’s Safra Children’s Hospital alone, on any given day, nearly 20% of patients are children from the West Bank and Gaza strip.”

Hope Without Boundaries

According to Mr. Har-Even, Sheba also plays an essential role in Israel’s longstanding commitment to fulfilling the Jewish mandate of being a ‘light unto the nations,’ in large measure through its international aid activities.

In this regard, he discussed Sheba’s latest humanitarian initiatives to help the people of Ukraine, and particularly the ‘Shining Star’ field hospital: “Some of the highlights in the past year include our first field hospital in Mostyska, Ukraine, where I led around 100 medical personnel from Sheba, alongside teams from other hospitals, who treated over 6,000 Ukrainian men, women, and children of all ages over the course of six weeks. What many considered to be mission impossible, became possible.”

Following the ‘Shining Star’ mission, Israel and Ukraine agreed that 20 wounded Ukrainian soldiers would be treated at Sheba. During his speech, Mr. Har-Even shared the stories of the first two such soldiers, who arrived after being severely injured. Having been fitted with prosthetics, they are currently undergoing daily rehabilitation so that they can return home to their families.

Sheba will continue efforts to aid the people of Ukraine and soon dispatch a team of rehabilitation specialists to the city of Lviv to teach local healthcare professionals advanced rehabilitation methods. Ukrainian doctors will also arrive in Sheba for training, while the medical center will continue treating Ukrainian children suffering from cancer or wounded from attacks on their towns and cities.

A Soldier’s Story at Friends of Sheba Gala

Another prominent speaker at the events was Australian Friends of Sheba’s Executive Director Idan Goldberger, who shared his personal story as a wounded veteran that was not only saved by Sheba physicians following a life-threatening injury, but also underwent extensive rehabilitation at Sheba.

In the midst of Operation Defensive Shield, Idan, who had just turned 21, was dispatched with his team to rescue a military vehicle stranded at Nablus in the West Bank. As he arrived at the scene, Idan came into range of an unseen sniper, who fired a single bullet that pierced his jaw.

Severely injured, Idan was airlifted to Sheba for treatment. During his stirring speech, Idan revealed that what concerned him most was not worrying his mother. Unable to speak, he wrote the medical staff a note saying: “Don’t tell mom.” “I promised my mother that I would not be doing anything dangerous,” he explained.

Idan underwent multiple complex surgeries and extensive rehabilitation at Sheba, which eventually allowed him to regain the ability to speak, eat and drink. “They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, in my case, it took a city to save me. A city of health, to be exact”. Today, as Australian Friends of Sheba’s Executive Director, Idan said he is grateful for the opportunity “to give back to the place that has given so much to me.”

Idan is one of the 20,000 soldiers that Sheba, a global leader in trauma surgery and rehabilitation technologies, treats each year.

Our gratitude goes to the American Friends of Sheba for orchestrating these important events.

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