from the Toronto Star
Organ donation bridges Mideast divide
Palestinian girl receives kidney of Jewish bomb victim
JERUSALEM (AP) — A Palestinian girl was recovering well today after she received a kidney from a Jewish seminary student from Scotland who was among six people killed in a Palestinian suicide bombing, hospital officials said.
Yasmin Abu Ramila, 7, a resident of Jerusalem, had been on a transplant waiting list and undergoing dialysis for almost two years, an Israeli Health Ministry official said.
A donor became available when Jonathan Jesner, 19, a seminary student from Glasgow, died on Friday, a day after he was critically wounded in a Tel Aviv bus attack claimed by the Islamic militant group Hamas.
"The family is very proud that (Jonathan) was able to give life to others," said Ari Jesner, the victim's brother. The most important principle "is that life was given to another human being. I think it's unimportant what religion, what nationality."
During two years of violence, more than 250 Israelis have been killed in more than 70 Palestinian suicide bombing attacks. In all, nearly 1,800 people have been killed on the Palestinian side and more than 600 on the Israeli side.
Yasmin was in a stable condition following the transplant operation, completed on Saturday night, Riva Shaked, a spokeswoman at the Schneider Children's Hospital, said today.
The girl drew a picture of flowers, a house, herself and a heart for the Jesner family, Shaked said. Yasmin wrote the name of Jonathan and her own on the picture, Shaked said.
Her parents were grateful. "I don't know what to say to thank the family of the man killed in the attack," the Maariv daily quoted Yasmin's mother, Dina, as saying. "I grieve for their loss and thank them for their donation which saved the life of my daughter."
Jesner came to Israel last year to study at a Jewish seminary for a year. He decided to extend his stay and put off medical school for a year, relatives said. After medical school, Jesner hoped to return to Israel.
Jesner was buried in Jerusalem on Friday.
Ari Jesner said the family had no plans to meet with the recipient's family now but did not rule out a meeting in the future. "We are glad their daughter was able to be saved," he said, adding, "life here is a bit of a lottery."