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Crossing Religious Lines to Serve

How can we embrace all people regardless of religion? Meeting the needs of our brothers and sisters, regardless of religion, is a good start.

BY: Corine Gatti

How can we embrace all people regardless of religion? Meeting the needs of our brothers and sisters, regardless of religion, is a good start. And despite what we hear in the news, there are people making a difference in society.

Over the course of several months, a Christian ministry and Jewish medical center worked diligently to set up a program to aid sick children in the Gaza Strip. In late January, Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, associated with the Tel Aviv University Sackler Faculty of Medicine, approved a partnership with Living Bread International Church and launched “Rescue the Child”.

The program will provide medical care for children living in the Gaza and the West Bank who have limited access to medical facilities. Volunteers of Living Bread International will be doing follow-up care and will return the children back to their homes.

Karen Dunham is the Director of the ministry and considered the “Mother Teresa in Israel” and was recognized for her dedication by the Palestinian and Israeli governments to reach across borders.

This was not always the case. Dunham survived bombings and threats on her life for spreading the gospel in refugee camps in Gaza and Jericho since she started in 2003.

“It is such a move of God to reach out in love and compassion to these children, who were dying and had such little hope. Isn’t it like God to team up a Christian organization and a Jewish hospital to show love to the enemies of Israel during this time? There are no borders that the Lord cannot move,” Dunham said in a press release. “That’s what Jesus did. [He] reached out to the least of these.”

Why would Israel lend a hand to what many consider her enemies? The motto of the medical center could be a key. The center was named after the famous physician Assaf the Physician, the first Hebrew medical writer, who wrote the Code of Conduct for Hebrew doctors 1,500 years ago. It's as follows:

“And ye shall not harden your hearts against the poor and the needy, but heal them.”

Aharon Cholow is the Director of International Resources from the Friends of Assaf Harofeh. He worked with Dunham to create “Rescue the Child” and lives by this principle.

“I believe that as an Israeli citizen we always have a right to defend ourselves from any aggression. However, we will always stretch out our hand for peace and show compassion to the suffering of children.” Cholow said.

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