Israeli hospital hosts cancer-stricken Iranian boy
By Aron HELLER,
Associated Press Writer
Oct 10, 2008
The head of an Israeli hospital where an Iranian boy is being treated for a brain tumor said Friday he hoped the gesture will help improve understanding between the bitterly divided countries.
The 12-year-old boy — who was identified only as Roy, to protect his privacy — was wheeled on a stretcher into the Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv, after treatments in Iran and Turkey failed.
Israel granted the child a special permit to enter the country and he arrived at Ben Gurion Airport on Friday. The rare arrangement was mediated by an Israeli businessman of Iranian origin. The boy was accompanied to the hospital by his father and veiled mother, who were also granted special entrance permits into Israel.
Iran and Israel are bitter enemies and have no formal relations. Iran's president has denied the Holocaust and repeatedly called for Israel to be "wiped off the map."
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."
Israel is home to world-class hospitals and state-of-the-art medical technology.
Dr. Amos Toren, head of Sheba's Pediatric Hemato-Oncology Department, said his initial diagnosis was that the boy's year-old growth was "the most aggressive tumor that exists among brain tumors."
"He is conscious and he can smile but it is hard," he said. "We will give him the most modern treatment possible and maybe we will be able to help him."