(TPS) Sheikh Khalid Qasmi, a royal figure from the United Arab Emirates, was hospitalized this week in Israel, the first Arab royal known to have been treated in Israel. His visit may pave the way for more Emiratis to get medical care in Israel.
The 45-year-old sheikh from the emirate of Sharjah in the UAE arrived at the Emek Medical Center in Afula on Sunday for treatment for health complications related to an automobile accident several years ago. He is due to return to the UAE on Thursday. The Tazpit Press Service got exclusive access to talk to Sheikh Qasmi, who praised Israel’s medical care and expressed his appreciation for the warm reception he has received.
During his conversation with TPS, the sheikh wore a kippah, or Jewish skullcap, saying it was a sign of respect for the Jewish people and the State of Israel.
“This is a special expression of what we all mean when we say ‘peace agreements,’” said Sheikh Qasmi. “It is an expression of pure humanity and I have no choice but to express my appreciation to the people of Israel and wish for continued cooperation between the countries in all fields.”
“This is the best medical treatment I have received since the car accident. I have traveled to several countries in Europe and been hospitalized in different clinics, since I was injured,” he said. “But since I arrived in Israel there has been a great improvement in my condition.”
He added, “I was amazed not only by the quality of the medical staff and the advanced capabilities in Israel, but mainly by the hospitality and the expressions of sympathy from the medical staff and other people I met here.”
Sheikh Qasmi also confirmed that “very soon I will return to Israel for further medical treatments.”
He was invited to Israel by former Druze cabinet minister Ayoub Kara, who is close to officials in the Emirates. Kara told TPS that the sheikh’s stay may lead to more Emiratis getting medical treatment in Israel.
“Following the sheikh’s hospitalization in Israel, the United Arab Emirates decided to examine the possibility of giving all residents of the Emirates the right to receive treatments in Israel, at the expense of the state,” Kara said. “The Emirates realized that [Israel has] an advanced healthcare system and decided that what was appropriate for the sheikh, and should be given to the rest of the residents of the Emirates.”
The sheikh’s stay was coordinated by Kara’s daughter, Amira, who is finishing her medical studies at Emek.
The United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven emirates. Sheikh Qasmi’s family set a precedent by ruling two different emirates, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah.
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