It is no longer unusual for Israelis to travel abroad to help the sick and needy around the world, as a team of 20 doctors and medical staff did on Sunday when they flew to Tanzania to provide free heart surgeries.
But it still creates a small swell of national pride when one reads of the latest humanitarian mission, especially for those of us who are believers and see in these missions the fulfillment of God's commandment for Israel to be a blessing to the nations, not to mention Yeshua's teachings on loving both your neighbors and your enemies.
The delegation en route to Tanzania is from Save a Child's Heart (SACH), a group of doctors and medical professionals who volunteer their time to bring life-saving heart treatment to thousands of children across the Middle East and Africa.
The current mission is a very special one. The long-term goal of SACH has always been to train doctors in Arab nations and in Africa to themselves be able to perform these crucial surgeries. The team going to Tanzania is accompanied by a Dr. Godwin, the first foreign physician to complete SACH training.
"Dr. Godwin has trained extensively with us for the past 5 years, and will now return to his home country, to become the first ever pediatric heart surgeon in Tanzania," read a statement on the SACH website.
Dr. Godwin will be assisted by his own team, which also trained in Israel, and the team of 20 Israelis with him now will remain in Tanzania for two weeks to assist with the establishment of a new heart treatment program in the country.
Elsewhere in Africa, "Dr. Dudi Mishali, director of pediatric cardiac surgery at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv, led a team of 11 cardiac surgeons and nurses...on a humanitarian medical mission to rural Nigeria," the hospital announced.
The team, which was made up of staff from three different hospitals in Israel, spent four days in Nigeria and performed "ten complicated surgeries on patients with congenital heart defects." The patients ranged in age from just two-months-old to 20-years-old.