The Israel Defense Forces has established a new maternity clinic over the border in Syria, as part of its Operation Good Neighbor instituted a year and a half ago to provide medical, infrastructural and civilian aid to Syrian victims of the ongoing civil war.
The hospital reportedly was opened in November in response to an urgent request from Syrian doctors who saw that many women could not get to the existing maternity hospital due to the difficult conditions.
The clinic is staffed entirely by Syrian healthcare workers using equipment donated through an Israeli nonprofit organization. More than 200 pregnant women so far have sought medical care at the new clinic, and 30 women have given birth there.
“We took a decision not just to sit on the fence and see people slaughtered and suffering every day – we decided to help them. And we understand that it might change their feeling about Israel a little bit – that we are not Satan,” the IDF commander of Operation Good Neighbor told The Jerusalem Post.
Last September, the IDF set up a secure field hospital, Mazor Ladach (literally, Bandaging Those in Need) on an unused Israeli military post in the southern Golan Heights. The voluntary staff, under the auspices of American Christian charity Friend Ships Unlimited, has cared for hundreds of Syrians already, according to the Operation Good Neighbor commander.
Mazor Ladach includes a playroom and also provides hot meals. “A Syrian mother who comes with her children leaves the clinic with healthier children and an aid kit from the State of Israel that includes food, basic hygiene products, and medicine,” wrote the commander on the IDF’s official blog.
In addition, over the past five years an estimated 4,000 wounded Syrians have been transported to Israeli hospitals for treatment.
As part of Operation Good Neighbor, the IDF sends over winter clothing, diesel fuel, medicine and food on a regular basis to Syrian villagers affected by the war.