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To mark her 50th birthday, Israeli woman gives kidney to young boy in Gaza

Idit Harel Segal

Idit Harel Segal | Facebook | Fair Use

Cerith Gardiner - published on 08/14/21

Turning 50, Idit Harel Segal managed to save two lives.

Turning 50 is a special milestone for many. Some celebrate it with a huge party, others take a trip, but an Israeli woman decided to give away a kidney.

Inspired by her late grandfather, who survived the Holocaust, Idit Harel Segal made the decision in hopes it would encourage others to be generous, which is not always easy in her native Israel with the constant political and religious turmoil.

Her grandfather instilled in Segal the Jewish tradition that “there’s no higher duty than saving a life,” reported AP News. With this in mind, the kindergarten teacher contacted a group that matches donors and recipients. The nine-month process ended in her giving one of her kidneys to a three-year-old boy from the Gaza Strip.

In a letter to the boy’s family that was translated into Arabic, Segal said:

“You don’t know me, but soon we’ll be very close because my kidney will be in your body. I hope with all my heart that this surgery will succeed and you will live a long and healthy and meaningful life … I see hope for peace and love. And if there will be more like us, there won’t be anything to fight over.”

On top of donating her kidney, Segal also had to contend with her family’s disapproval. Not only were they afraid for her, they have lost family members due to Palestinian attacks. Her father stopped talking to her, and her husband and one of her three children were against the medical procedure.

She initially kept the identity of the recipient from her family, explaining, “I told myself if the reaction to the kidney donation is so harsh, so obviously the fact that a Palestinian boy is getting it will make it even harsher.”

To make things even more complicated, due to the fact the recipient was in Gaza, the boy’s family were told that to speed things up, if they donated a kidney to someone in Israel, the operation would go ahead more quickly.

So on the day Segal donated her kidney, the boy’s father (who was not compatible with his son) gave a kidney to an Israeli mom-of-two. In many countries this sort of donor reciprocity is not allowed as it can be seen as a form of coercion, but fortunately for all those involved here, that was not the case.

For Segal, the donation has been a very special birthday gift to herself. She has sparked two donations, saving two lives, and is now in contact with the little boy’s family. By honoring her grandfather, who died 5 years ago, she has also managed to win around her own father.

On the eve of the surgery he reached out to his daughter. “I don’t remember what he said because he was crying,” shared Segal. When she explained who the recipient would be, after a moment’s silence, he simply responded, “Well, he needs life, also.”

If you’d like to read the originalarticle in more detail in the AP News, click here.

Tags:
Acts of KindnessIsrael
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