Sign In / Up

Add contribution as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Comment as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Login

Not a member Register   Forgot Password
or connect using
 

Email

 

Rudaw

World

Iraqi Kurds Risk Hamas Rockets in Israel to get Surgery for Sick Children

25/7/2014
Israeli artillery flares illuminate the sky over Gaza City following an air strike earlier this month. Photo: AFP
Israeli artillery flares illuminate the sky over Gaza City following an air strike earlier this month. Photo: AFP

By Lazar Berman

JERUSALEM, Israel – Three times since arriving in Israel for life-saving heart surgery on his baby boy, Kheiri from Kurdistan had to scurry for shelter at the charity hosting him in Jerusalem, as Hamas rockets flew overhead.   

The Kurd from Shengal and his year-old son Wassam are among some of the Kurdish families staying at the Shevet Achim NGO, which brings ailing children from Kurdistan and other parts of the world for heart surgery at Israel’s world-class hospitals, at no cost to the families.   

The few Kurdish parents and children there had not counted on getting caught in the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

“Thank God, the missiles fell far from here,” said Kheiri, who is unafraid of the blare of the air raid sirens. “This is nothing compared to Iraq. I’ve been bombed many times,” said Kheiri, a Yezidi Kurd working as a policeman back home.

The Shevet Achim building, where staff share living quarters with visiting families, does not have its own bomb shelter. But its old stone structure appears solid enough to withstand a Hamas rocket hit.

When air raid sirens go off in Jerusalem, the Shevet staff hurries families into the stairway, the safest place in the building because it has no windows that can shatter by incoming rockets.

The mothers or fathers have 90 seconds at most to get out of bed, wake their ailing children, and rush them to the stairwell.

Hami, from Dohuk, is in Jerusalem with her 12-year-old son, Daoud.  He too is battling a heart problem, and has had a series of operations over the last four months.

Like Kheiri, she professed no fear at the sirens and rockets.

“Whatever God wants,” she said. “There is also war back home.” She is so unconcerned that that she does not even head for the shelter when sirens go off, saying “I trust in God.”

But Sirwa, who arrived from Chamchamal about a month ago with her three-year-old son, Aram, is terrified of the sirens.

“I’m always the first to go down,” she confessed, getting laughter from the other mothers. “But when I am with everyone, I am not afraid.”

Josh Miles, a Shevet employee and son of its founder, has been responsible for getting staff and the families to safety during sirens.

“The mothers have been pretty calm,” he said. “Some of the staff was actually more nervous.”

What is more, Miles’ wife was in labor during the first rocket barrage fired at Jerusalem. “We were counting contractions, and I was directing the staff through texts,” he quipped.

Miles said that families from Kurdistan are still coming, despite the fighting.

The charity sponsors children from Syria, Jordan and Gaza for surgery in Israel.

Miles said it was harder to get families from Gaza to the hospitals, because of the fighting.

Two Gazan families were too afraid to travel through the northern Gaza Strip, which has seen the heaviest fighting, to reach the Erez Crossing into Israel.  Another two families were prevented from entering Israel by Hamas.

One of Shevet’s Palestinian staffers, a Christian man who asked not to be named, said that for Gazans trying to get into Israel it was much harder to get through Hamas checkpoints than through Israeli ones.

Despite the fighting and the dangers to their lives, Kheiri has no regrets about coming to Israel. And he confessed to being very impressed by his experience in Israel.

“In the hospital, how people act? It doesn’t matter what religion you are. People here have freedom, the Jews give freedom,” he gushed.

Kheiri said he wished he could move his family to Jerusalem and leave Iraq’s problems behind.

Comments

 
Data pager
Previous
123
Page size:
PageSizeComboBox
select
Ibrahim | 25/7/2014
God bless Israel. <3
Shevan | 26/7/2014
God bless Isra�l ???? Isra�l is the biggest zionist state in this world. They're the biggest treat for the Muslims in this world. how can you cheer for them while your pen Muslim brothers are suffering in Gaza. they're doing the same as what Saddam was doing to the kurds.
jew kurds lol | 26/7/2014
Kurdish Jews are not Kurdish because they are Jews. may Allah protect Palestine as did a hero who scar and shocked history the Kurdish sultan Saladin.
ZaxoyiBoy | 26/7/2014
wow I didnt know Zionist own Rudaw too, I guess the Barazanis and Zionist were always butt buddies. pathetic kaffers.
aza | 26/7/2014
down Israel
6371 Views

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

Share your stories, photos and videos with Rudaw, and quite possibly the world.

What You Say

Marcopolo | 7/27/2015 1:16:07 AM
so what if he visits kurdistan? I see no significance
Marcopolo | 7/27/2015 4:43:30 PM
Saddam hussain permittted kurdish language to be used in universities in iraqi kurdistan in 1960s. we live in 21th centure , it is 2015. some...
Iranian president visits Iranian Kurdistan
| yesterday at 11:41 | (8)
Marcopolo | 7/27/2015 4:34:59 PM
someone has to ask Mr Muslim why does he travel to iran to meet ayatolahs? does he really think that ayatolahs are friends with kurds? if his answer...
Marcopolo | 7/27/2015 4:37:50 PM
like a parrot, muslim syas the same things that Assad has been claiming. Turkey has never concealed his supports for FSA and other Islamic groups...
Salih Muslim: Turkey aids ISIS
| 13 hours ago | (7)
Hans Guderian | 7/27/2015 4:18:56 PM
@Kurdistan: Turkey is not ISIS, nor she is your enemy. Do not try so desperately to make an enemy of your only friend in the region.
kurt basar | 7/27/2015 4:20:47 PM
Mongol Barbarian/Muslim savage criminals, they are burning all the Kurdish forest, mountains & animals for to ruin the Kurdistan, because they know...
Turkey bombarding PKK targets in Iraqi Kurdistan’s Mergasur district
| 12 hours ago | (7)
Hersh | 7/27/2015 6:13:00 AM
Davutoglu and Demirtas should outmaneuver Erdogan by forming an government with CHP and making sure that both the Turkish military and PKK stand...
Hans Guderian | 7/27/2015 4:17:09 PM
It is time HDP denounces PKK and asks for Turkish voters to give bigger support to put an end to violence and moving on as a better country. More...
Turkey’s post-election nightmare and possible Syria quagmire
| 21 hours ago | (2)
0.312 seconds