Israeli-Palestinian Cooperation at Rambam Hospital

It takes a village...Aya from Jenin

Unprecedented Israeli-Palestinian cooperation led by dedicated volunteers offers a little girl from Jenin a better life.

For the past 5 months, 2 year-old Aya Aiid Abo-Mois has been coming to Rambam for dialysis. Her daily morning journey begins from a village outside of Jenin that is under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority. The journey into Israel is not simple. Every morning, Aya and her mother wait for a driver of the "Derech Hachlama" (Way to Recovery) volunteer-run organization from Israel, which operates  transportation services for Palestinian patients from their homes to hospitals in Israel.


Aya is the youngest of four children. In January 2009, she was hospitalized in the Jenin Governmental Hospital for kidney failure. Ten days later, her condition having worsened, she was transferred to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, where she received dialysis treatment for over a month. At the request of her family and the authorization by the Palestinian Authority, Aya’s was moved to Rambam Medical Center at Haifa, closer to her home.

The long journey to the hospital begins at 5 AM every morning. Aya's mother, Sahir Abo-Mois, describes the physical and emotional challenges of daily travels with her infant:  "The minute we arrive at the hospital, the child is in stress". Sahir leaves her other three children with her mother. The family already lost a daughter six years ago due to kidney disease; she died before reaching the age of 1 year. This tragedy has made Sahir stronger and firm in her faith that Aya will get better and will have a better future.       

Over the past few months, Rambam Hospital has become a second home to them. It is here where mothers of different cultures and religions, Israeli Arabs and Jews, meet and speak freely about their fears and hardships and even discuss geo-political issues of the day. Sahir has developed a close kinship with the people she met at the hospital and says that there is a feeling of cooperation. She says, "I am especially grateful to 'Derech Hachlama,' and without their help I don't know how we could provide my daughter with the superior life-saving treatment that she needs."   

"Derech Hachlama" was founded in 2006. It began when a Palestinian member from the "Forum of Bereaved Families" asked his friend, an Israeli member of the forum, to help him with travel to Rambam. The Israeli, Yuval Roth, lost his brother 15 years ago; (his brother was murdered during his reserve duty service when he hitched a ride with Hamas militants disguised as religious Jews). Yuval didn't hesitate to offer assistance to his friend and very quickly, with the aid of other members, a network of approximately 60 patients' using the organization's travel services developed. "The demand is great for travel from Palestinian villages to Israeli hospitals, and at least two new patients join our service every month," states Yuval.