Newsletter #48
June 2016

Israeli Doctor Speaks About Providing Humanitarian Aid to Syrian War Victims
Dr. Zarka _standing_ far left_ speaking at the home of Reuven Azar _standing_ to the left of Dr. Zarka__ Israel_s Deputy Chief of Missions to the U.S.
Dr. Zarka (standing, far left) speaking at the home of Reuven Azar (standing, to the left of Dr. Zarka), Israel's Deputy Chief of Missions to the U.S.

If you read last month's story about Dr. Salman Zarka, Director General of Ziv Medical Center in Zefat, you know that he's on a mission to inform the world that his hospital is providing medical and humanitarian care to victims of the Syrian Civil War.

You may have been impressed by the fact that although Syria has been Israel's sworn enemy for many years, it hasn't stopped Israel from caring for more than 2,000 wounded and sick Syrians since 2013.

Here at APF we were impressed enough to invite Dr. Zarka on a speaking tour in the U.S. This spring he gave talks at several venues: in New York, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Florida.
Israeli Ambassador Judith Varnai Shorer introducing Dr. Zarka to Young Israel of Toco Hills in Atlanta
Israeli Ambassador Judith Varnai Shorer introducing Dr. Zarka to Young Israel of Toco Hills in Atlanta
Without exception, audience members were moved to tears as Dr. Zarka shared his stories of horrifically maimed Syrian children who appear alone at the Israeli border, and of wounded Syrians who arrive at the Israeli army post, dragged there on mattresses by desperate relatives. In one particularly riveting story, he told of a 15-year-old girl who showed up at the border pregnant with twins. Hospital staffers wasted no time performing an emergency Caesarean that saved all three lives.

As a result of the superior Israeli medical care, many wounded Syrians return home with their limbs intact, often taking with them expensive rehabilitation equipment that hospital staffers know they will never see again.

Dr. Zarka shared countless stories, some almost too painful to listen to. Perhaps the most amazing thing is that all those treatments, some of which span months, are given free of charge and subsidized directly by the hospitals, which receive insufficient support from the Israeli government.

If you feel moved to contribute to Ziv Medical Center or APF, you can do so through our website or by mail. We will forward your contributions, along with our shared gratitude, to the hospital. (Please be sure to note that the gift is for the Ziv Center.) This is just one more way we continue supporting healthcare in Israel.
Special thanks:
APF is deeply grateful to all the volunteers at the Friends of Ziv Medical Center community for their hard work in making Dr. Zarka's Florida engagements a reality. We would also like to extend our warm gratitude to Temple Beth Torah in Aventura, FL, and Temple Beth-Am in Jupiter, FL, which hosted gatherings. Special thank-yous go out to APF board member Richard Klitzberg, who organized theevent at his community in Boca Raton; the entire team at the Israeli Consulate in Atlanta for their warm Southern hospitality; the Atlanta AJC for organizing the event; Dr. Eddie Greenberg and his wife, Galia, for holding an event with Dr. Zarka at their home. Our sincere gratitude to the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., and especially to Israeli Deputy Chief of Mission, Reuven Azar, for hosting a special event at his home in Maryland. Dr. Zarka was touched by the warm hospitality he received everywhere we traveled.

Please see this article in the Daily Mail: Watch Heart Pounding Moment Israeli Commandos Save Islamic Militants.  

Surgeon/Researcher Dr. Avinoam Nevler Tackles "Prickly" Pancreatic Cancer
Dr. Avinoam Nevler
Dr. Avinoam Nevler
The pancreas behaves like a cactus.

So says Dr. Avinoam Nevler, a 2015-2016 APF research fellow in pancreatic cancer at Thomas Jefferson University's Pancreas, Biliary and Related Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

"The blood flow to the pancreas is markedly decreased compared to other important organs, as is the oxygen content. With lower levels of oxygen and nutrients it's like a cactus living in the desert, it's hardy.

"If a cancer arises in that tissue, the cancer is also very sturdy, robust and resilient," says the 36-year-old Reut resident. "And like a cactus, pancreatic cancer is very tolerant of extreme environmental conditions; nothing affects it. Also, pancreatic cancer, like a cactus, can slow replication during these harsh times, thereby resisting current weapons such as chemotherapy and radiation that are specifically directed at replicating cells. 
Generous Grant Awarded to Support Pediatric Surgery Fellowship at Israel's Periphery Hospital
From left: Dr. Andriy Foderenko, Ziv Medical Center Pediatric Surgery Fellow at Rambam Health Care Campus, with Ben Shamir, APF Executive Director
Ziv Medical Center, perched up in the northeastern Galilee, is a mid-size academic and community hospital serving a highly heterogeneous population including Jews, Christians, Muslims, Druze, Circassians and Bedouin. It also functions as a major trauma center for the region due to its proximity to the Lebanese and Syrian borders. Its catchment area, however, is characterized by a lower than average socioeconomic base, and the hospital lacks many significant medical services.

In 2013 Ziv Medical Center opened its Pediatric Surgery Unit (PSU), offering a wide range of previously unavailable surgical procedures, including those in oncological, thoracic and gastrointestinal medicine to patients under 18. In addition, the unit includes a clinic that provides consultations and diagnoses in complex cases, preoperative preparation and follow-up, plus an interdisciplinary center for treatment of obesity among adolescents. Though pediatrics has grown exponentially in the past two years, Ziv Medical Center still has only one pediatric surgeon and is in need of an additional one so they can offer this benefit to everyone.
Dr. Andriy Foderenko, a Ziv Medical Center senior physician in general surgery, needed to gain experience in pediatrics and complex procedures. He was especially interested in Laparoendoscopic Single Site Surgery (LESS), a novel surgical approach that removes diseased tissue through a single small incision. These procedures are typically performed at Rambam Health Care Campus, more than an hour away in Haifa. But a very generous $35,000 grant from an anonymous foundation has helped Dr. Foderenko become a Pediatric Surgical Fellow at Rambam. He is now learning surgical management of critically ill children as young as neonates in a world-renowned medical center.

Once again we want to offer our deepest appreciation to that anonymous funder for investing in this Fellowship and in Ziv Medical Center. An additional pediatric surgeon, especially with these new skills, means significantly greater resources for Ziv Medical Center and for the population it serves in northern Israel. 
Registration Is Now Open: Join Us in Israel This Fall!

The APF's 18th Annual Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Course in Israel will be held November 12-17, 2016.
Click here to view the course brochure.
Please complete the 2016 Course Registration Form and return it to APF along with your deposit to reserve your spot today!

For additional information, please contact the APF office. 
For more information, click here 
or contact Beth with Allergists for Israel: [email protected]
American Physicians Fellowship for Medicine in Israel