Muslim paramedic joins op to rescue Jewish refugees from Ukraine

June 24, 2022 by TPS
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On Tuesday, two Jewish Ukrainian refugees began the final leg of their journey to a new home in Israel. In a collaborative operation run by the JDC, The Jewish Agency, and United Hatzalah, the two refugees, each suffering from a severe medical condition, were brought to Israel to receive medical care.

Gutnikov arrives in Israel

The JDC brought the refugees out of Ukraine and the Jewish Agency arranged for housing for them in Warsaw, Poland while they waited for their flight. United Hatzalah volunteers Khaled Hardan, a Muslim paramedic from Wadi Ara in northern Israel, and Israeli Russian-speaking EMT Vicki Tiferet from Moshav Yuval, went to Warsaw to make sure that the patients were in stable enough condition to fly and then accompanied them on the trip while providing them with continuous medical care. The plane landed early in Israel on Wednesday.

When the refugees arrived in Israel, as part of a Jewish Agency flight that carried over a hundred other refugees with them, they were met by United Hatzalah ambulance teams who took them from the airport to medical facilities in Israel so that they could continue their treatments and receive proper care.

One of the refugees, a woman named Donia, is a Holocaust survivor. Donia was born in 1935 and watched as her mother and sister were murdered by the Nazis in 1942. She survived the Second World War and moved to Ukraine where she eventually married and lived in Odesa. Her daughter and granddaughter live in Israel and she has a grandson who lives in Ukraine who managed to exit the country to accompany her to the airport in Warsaw.

The other refugee, a man named Gutnikov, arrived in Poland a month ago with his wife and three children from Mariupol. He had no previous medical complications, but while they were staying in a hotel in Poland prior to the flight he suffered a medical complication that left him immobilized and in need of medical care.

“Members of the Jewish Agency were worried that he wouldn’t be able to fly due to his recent medical complication,” Vicki said. “He required monitoring to make sure that his situation didn’t deteriorate any further, and as soon as he landed we had an ambulance waiting to take him to the hospital for immediate care. This family had waited a long time to immigrate to Israel, they suffered through bombings and watched the destruction of their city. We merited helping them come home thanks to the partnership with the JDC and the Jewish Agency.”

Khaled added that “this was a blessing for me to be able to go and help these people come to a safe place having fled the war in Ukraine. I am happy that I was part of the team that was able to bring them to Israel.”


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