News Digest — 3/4/22

Israeli Doctors First To Treat Ukrainian Refugees – From Afar

Israeli doctors became the first foreigners to help treat Ukrainian refugees in Moldova, most of them without even leaving home, thanks to the use of the latest telemedicine techniques.

On Saturday night (2/26), Sheba Beyond, the virtual hospital established by the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer in central Israel, sent its CTO, Sarit Lerner, to the border city of Chisinau, Moldova’s capital.  She came with a 15-member United Hatzalah team of doctors, EMTs, paramedics and volunteers from its Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit.

More than 15,000 mostly women and children had already fled over this particular border from their war-torn homeland after Russia invaded just over a week ago.  According to reports, the number has grown tremendously since then, with as many as 70,000 per day crossing the border.

Many are suffering from the extreme cold, as they fled with only the clothes on their backs, and were also hungry, since their food ran out before they managed to reach safety.  But many others need serious medical care, either due to existing medical conditions or problems that ensued as a result of their exhausting and dangerous trip.

As Sheba Beyond head Galia Barkai explained right before takeoff, Lerner was bringing “cutting edge technologies that will help communicate with Sheba’s experts…help us do physical examinations, ultrasounds, even point-of-care blood tests.”

Most of the devices that are allowing the remote specialists to diagnose issues in real time, enabling immediate treatment of injuries and illnesses, are Israeli inventions. 

As reported by Israel21c, one of them is the Tytocare remote exam kit, the world’s first all-in-one device that can check patients’ vital signs as well as their lungs, heart, ears, throat, abdomen and skin.

Biobeats wrist-and-chest monitors keep continuous track of 13 different vital signs, including those that can tell if someone is in danger of a heart attack or stroke.

A third device, Pulsenmore, is a handheld ultrasound that can examine pregnant women and send their scans to be checked by Israeli OB/GYNs via a smartphone application.

The fourth is an American-made i-STAT blood analyzer created by Abbott Labs.  About the size of a large TV remote, it can check a patient’s blood chemistry on the spot.

The team began working Monday (2/28), as it took over 24-hours to reach the site and set up a makeshift field hospital and clinic.

“I have been treating everyone.  There have been pregnant mothers and elderly men and women suffering from a wide range of ailments caused by the long and incredibly stressful journey to cross the border,” Prof. Gadi Segal, Sheba’s head of internal telemedicine, told Times of Israel.

“There have been children and chronic patients in need of urgent advanced blood tests,” he added.  “All of them are given care from my office in Sheba.”

The United Hatzalah team is working in coordination with Israel’s Foreign Ministry and the Jewish community, who are supplying volunteers and the space for a command center in a local synagogue.  Some 30 more Hatzalah volunteers are expected to join the team in the coming days.



Ukrainian Refugee And Holocaust Survivor Brought To Israel

On Thursday (3rd), as part of its first-ever chartered humanitarian aid-flight to assist Ukrainian refugees in Moldova, United Hatzalah airlifted 160 refugees back to Israel. Some held Israeli citizenship, some came via the Right of Return, and some had decided to immigrate to Israel and make it their permanent home.

One such woman, Raisa, a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor who has difficulty walking, was living on her own in Odessa.

Her son had passed away two years ago, and her only remaining family was three granddaughters living in Israel.

When the fighting broke out and people fled the city, her granddaughters reached out to United Hatzalah and asked them to help save their grandmother’s life.

Rabbi Hillel Cohen, Director of United Hatzalah in Ukraine arranged for an ambulance to bring her to the Moldovan border where she met Hatzalah’s volunteers who brought her food and clothing and checked her medical status.

On Wednesday (2nd) she was brought to a shelter in Chisinau run by the local Jewish community.  Early Thursday morning (3rd), together with other Ukrainian refugees, she was brought by bus to the Lasi Airport in Romania, where she boarded a flight for Israel, to be reunited with her granddaughters.

“When the plane arrived in Israel, there were a lot of tears,” said Vice President of Operations Dov Maisel who accompanied the refugees for the return trip.  “I’ve seen my fair share of disaster zones and I don’t get emotional easily, but seeing Raisa reunited with her granddaughters brought me to tears as well.”

“What happened here was a miracle,” said Michal, one of Raisa’s granddaughters.  “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”



PA Organizations Call For Riots On Friday

The Monitoring Committee of the National and Islamic Forces, the highest coordinated body of the Palestinian Arab organizations, has declared Friday (4th) to be a day of escalation and confrontation with the “occupation” at all pints of friction, in support of the Palestinian Arab residents of Sheik Jarrah (Shimon Hatzadik) neighborhood in Jerusalem and the fight for Palestinian terrorists imprisoned in Israel.

In a statement issued Thursday (3rd), the Monitoring Committee praised the daily fight of the “heroes of the popular resistance and the young rebels in the West Bank and Jerusalem” and called on Friday (4th) for it to be “a great uprising in the face of the occupation and a fight against its crimes.”

The importance of the use of mosques and churches, and in particular the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, as well as city centers as gathering points before heading to the areas of conflict with the “occupation,” was also noted in the statement.

The Monitoring Committee also called for an escalation of the “intifada” by various means, including “the establishment of a united national leadership to expand the fight against Israel.”



Terrorist Who Carried Out Two Attacks Within 24 Hours Found And Arrested

The IDF began a manhunt after two Jewish victims were stabbed hours apart in the Palestinian village of Hizme, just north of Jerusalem.

Early in the evening on Wednesday (2nd), a middle-aged resident of Jerusalem came to the IDF checkpoint outside the village of Hizme with stab wounds in his neck.  He told the soldiers that he had been attacked from behind in a store in the village, but managed to run to his car and get away.

The soldiers gave him first aid before evacuating him to Hadassah hospital on Mount Scopus with what was described as moderate injuries.

On Thursday morning (3rd), soldiers at the checkpoint were taking care of another medical emergency when a man in his 40s arrived with stab wounds after being attacked in the same village.  Army medics and Magen David Adom paramedics treated the victim before taking him to Shaare Zedek hospital in moderate condition.

The IDF assumed the motivation for the attacks was nationalistic and began searching for the perpetrator.  Authorities also suspected both incidents were carried out by the same person.

Both assumptions proved correct.  The terrorist was captured Thursday afternoon (3rd).

There have been a number of terror attacks in and around Hizme.  Last June, a female terrorist attempted to run over soldiers in the area before jumping out of the car and trying to stab them.  One soldier was lightly wounded, while the woman was shot.

In July 2019, a Palestinian man carried out a ramming attack near the village, hitting five soldiers on the roadside who were on an operational mission.  Two soldiers suffered head injuries and were taken to the hospital in moderate condition.  The others suffered light injuries to their limbs.

In that incident, after an intensive search and intelligence-gathering efforts, the suspected terrorist and his father were arrested by IDF forces at a checkpoint in the area.



Spreading The Iranian Revolution In Latin America – Emanuele Ottolenghi

Iran’s Al Mustafa International University has branches in over 50 countries, including a new center inaugurated in November 2020 at the Universidad Bolivariana de Venezuela in Caracas.  The United States Treasury Department sanctioned the university in 2020 for its role in Iranian propaganda efforts, including the provision of material support for the training and indoctrination of Shiite militias.

As Kasra Aarabi and Saeid Golkar wrote in February 2021 for the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, “Al Mustafa’s objective is to enroll and train non-Iranian students interested in Iran’s revolutionary Shia Islamist ideology, or in becoming Shia clerics, to disseminate and advance the ideological goals of Iran’s Islamic revolution.  Al Mustafa carries the torch of Iran’s Islamic Revolution through hundreds of blogs, online materials, journals, and other publications, with classes in dozens of languages that train tens of thousands of students, including foreign converts.”

“Thanks to the zeal of its acolytes and Iran’s funding, a vast regional network is now in place.  Al Mustafa-sponsored institutions are an echo chamber for Iran’s narrative of resistance to so-called imperialists and oppressors, usually embodied by the United States and Israel, which resonates more in parts of Latin America than a specific Islamic message would.  Since the death of Iranian Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani in 2020, Iran has depicted him for Latin American audiences as a latter-day Islamic Che Guevara.”

The writer is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.