Abigail Klein Leichman
November 30, 2022, Updated December 2, 2022

Five-year-old Amir Yichya Mabchuch recently became the 3,000th youngster from Gaza and the Palestinian Authority territories to get free lifesaving surgery through Save a Child’s Heart at Sylvan Adams Children’s Hospital in Holon, Israel.

Amir lives in Jabalia, north of Gaza City, with his parents and younger sister. Their family doctor identified a heart defect resulting from a blockage in one of his coronary arteries when Amir was just two months old.

“Already at that age we understood that Amir would require an operation to fix the defect,” said his mother, Maha.

The condition left Amir unable to perform simple actions. Even taking a walk placed potentially life-threatening strain on his heart.

During one of Amir’s frequent checkups, his family was told about the Israeli NGO Save a Child’s Heart, which has provided free lifesaving heart operations to more than 6,000 children from 65 countries, including countries without diplomatic relations with Israel, since 1995.

“When the doctor told us there was a possibility for Israeli doctors to carry out the complicated operation Amir needed, we were so happy,” said his mother.

“Everyone here in Gaza talks about how Israeli doctors are the most professional in the world and that they can be trusted completely. The doctor put us in contact with the organization, and that was how we started the process toward open-heart surgery.”

Gaza boy becomes 3,000th to get lifesaving heart surgery in Israel
Amir with his father and grandmother before surgery. Photo courtesy of SACH

Amir was accompanied to Israel by his father and grandmother. His open-heart surgery took place on November 20 by a team led by Dr. Hagi Dekel.

The treatment was a success, and the little boy is now recuperating at the new Sylvan Adams Children’s Hospital on the Wolfson Medical Center campus.

Gaza boy becomes 3,000th to get lifesaving heart surgery in Israel
Five-year-old Amir from Gaza on the operating table at Save a Child’s Heart at Wolfson Medical Center, Holon. Photo courtesy of SACH

“I know there is always tension between Gaza and Israel, but that doesn’t change my child’s story. I trust the Israeli doctors and I know they will save my boy’s life,” said Maha Mabchuch.

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