Thursday, February 28, 2013

Blood replacement saves baby from whooping cough


In first-ever case in Israel, doctors in Western Galilee Hospital save newborn from whooping cough with infused blood.  

Baby recieving blood infusion at Nahariya’s Western Galilee Hospital.
Photo: Courtesy Ronnie Albert/Western Galilee Hospital

 Staffers at Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya saved the life of a month-old baby, after performing a treatment never before used in Israel.

The government hospital announced Tuesday that the baby was discharged after her recovery.

The newborn contracted whooping cough and was hospitalized in pediatric intensive care. A multidisciplinary team from the pediatric intensive care department, pediatric pulmonology, the infectious diseases unit and pediatric hematology cared for the baby, who was infected before her parents managed to get her vaccinated against the disease.

Dr. Ze’ev Sonis, head of pediatric intensive care, noted that the disease can be very serious – and sometimes fatal – in young children. In some cases, there is an increase in white blood cells due to toxins released by the bacteria that cause the disease – which in fact caused the baby to develop pulmonary hypertension.

In the world medical literature, only a few similar cases have been found, and just a few of these have been successfully treated. Because of the baby’s dangerous condition, it was decided to replace her blood with infused blood.

The procedure was carried out by Sonis; Dr. Yoav Hoffmann and Dr. Yoav Hoffman and Dr. Husein Dabbah of the pediatric intensive care department; hematology’s Dr. Amir Kuperman; and Dr. Danny Glickman of the infectious disease unit.

“What led to the decision of blood replacement,” said Kuperman, “was the awareness that the risk of doing so was less than not doing so. After consulting with outside experts in the field, we performed it, and it was a success. It greatly improved the baby’s condition, and she was weaned from her respirator after weeks of hospitalization. She is the first Israeli to have been successfully treated for the condition this way.”

Whooping cough can be prevented by vaccinating children in family health (tipat halav) centers. However, very young babies have sometimes been infected because they were not old enough to get their shots.

They are usually infected by relatives – their parents or older siblings. The risk can be minimized by immunizing pregnant women against whooping cough and completing vaccination schedules of all family members expecting a baby.

The baby’s parents emotionally thanked the hospital team for saving her with an expert diagnosis and treatment.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Why does the world target Israel?

All of us that are involved in advocating for Israel ask ourselves this question. Kasim Hafeez is an interesting character - see a biography at the end of the article below.
This op-ed states that by singling out Israel, human rights activists abandon those who really suffer from apartheid

Kasim Hafeez,7340,L-4347381,00.html 

Genocide, ethnic cleansing, apartheid; if you've ever had the pleasure of speaking with some of the more zealous haters of Israel you'll hear these phrases at some point, normally yelled at you by a delightful middle class keffiyeh-wearing student.

I guess to some extent, sadly, we have become slightly accustomed to these libels. The hypocrisy of those claiming to be pro-Palestinian and champions of human rights and their obsessive hatred of Israel has led to the abandonment of those who suffer true apartheid, genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Detractors will undoubtedly be quick to ask why supporters of Israel point to other regimes to exonerate Israel. But this is not really what I'm doing. Israel needs no exoneration as, fortunately, Israelis are able to protest, challenge and choose their governments. That's democracy folks. But, just for the sake of argument, let us say all the malicious lies have some truth to them. Still the question remains: Why is Israel singled out for protests and global marches lauded by the 'enlightened' regimes in Tehran and Damascus, yet some of the world's human rights catastrophes carry on daily, completely ignored, by the same holier than thou activists?

For me, a particular source of pain and anger is the situation of minorities and women in my parents' homeland. In Pakistan, not a week goes by without a story of rape, murder, humiliation and torture. In this Islamic country, terms such as Jesus Christ are banned in text messages and a young girl is shot for demanding basic education. Yet apart from the attempted murder of Malala Yusufzai, these stories rarely make it to the press. The brutally oppressed Christian minority suffers at the hands of an archaic blasphemy law, yet, apart from small-scale protests held by Pakistani Christian groups, there were no calls to boycott Pakistan and no flotillas were planned. I guess murdered Pakistani Christians maybe not a trendy enough cause. I wonder if a British newspaper would publish a cartoon of a Pakistani mullah murdering minorities to pave the way for a Sharia state. Our journalists love freedom and liberty, but the love their lives a little bit more.

Obsessed with destruction of Israel

The House of Saud promotes religious apartheid, destroys history and spreads wahhabism, yet the world remains silent. Maybe the cause isn't cool enough. Or maybe we should just allow people to suffer and dismiss it as a cultural phenomenon; maybe we should say this is how things are in that part of the world and focus on the need to stop 'apartheid Israel,' which just elected another Knesset member of Ethiopian descent.

Remember when a handful of Darfur nationals and real human rights activists protested outside the UN Human Rights Commission against the atrocities in the region? Well, the instigator of the ethnic cleansing, Sudan, sat on the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

Once again, so many of our activists remained silent because Israel was not involved. It is interesting to note that some of Israel's fiercest enemies like Syria, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain dismissed the UN report on Darfur, penned by Nobel laureate Jody Wolfe, and acted to protect Sudan at the UN.

Why are the self-appointed defenders of Palestinian rights silent while Palestinians are being massacred in Syria by Assad's regime? And why do they remain silent when a Palestinian girl is murdered in the name of honor? Where were they when Hamas fired rockets from inside a school in Gaza? Oh, I forgot, they were outside the nearest Israeli embassy chanting slogans in support of Hamas.

I know there are many people who genuinely care about Palestinians and want to see them live in peace with their neighbors, but there are too many modern-day Jean-Paul Marats who are full of fiery rhetoric and demand blood. People have become obsessed with the destruction of Israel. These people should be ashamed of themselves, emulating the Nazis by urging boycotts of Jewish businesses while murder, rape and humiliation are rampant in so many nations. Real apartheid, genocide and ethnic cleansing are occurring on our watch, yet these people have become so obsessed with the end of Zionism that the suffering of others had become a side show.

Protest the oppression of women in Saudi Arabia and you'll have my respect. Protesting against an Israeli theater group is pathetic.

Numerous Middle East countries consistently violate human rights, yet the UN vilifies Israel. Is it just me or is something deeply wrong with our moral compass?

Kasim Hafeez was born in a British Muslim household of Pakistani origin. As a result of the constant indoctrination at home and in his circle of friends, he became both anti-Israeli and antisemitic. After reading Alan Dershowitz's 'The Case for Israel' in 2007, he began to doubt his own beliefs, researched the issue and visited Israel. After his return to the UK, he became convinced that he had to take a stand by speaking out about Israel and against Islamist radicalization.

Free Speech under Threat

The following report comes from Avi Mayer and should be circulated as widely as possible.

Crushing Free Speech in Essex UK

How Were Protesters Able to Deny an Israeli Diplomat His Freedom of Speech?

A few weeks ago, Omar Barghouti and Judith Butler -- the former a leader of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, the latter a cheerleader therefor -- spoke at Brooklyn College in an appearance co-sponsored by the institution's political science department. The talk, which sought to promote the effort to punish and isolate Israel until it accepts its own elimination, was hailed as a triumph of free speech.

"As an institution of higher education," wrote college president Karen Gould, "it is incumbent upon us to uphold the tenets of academic freedom and allow our students and faculty to engage in dialogue and debate on topics they may choose, even those with which members of our campus and broader community may vehemently disagree... We [...] uphold their right to speak, and the rights of our students and faculty to attend, listen, and fully debate."

In the days and weeks leading up to the event, anti-Israel activists of all stripes railed against efforts to have the event cancelled, hailing the talk as a vivid example of free expression. Ali Abunimah, editor of the hate site Electronic Intifada, encouraged his readers to sign on to a petition expressing "support for free speech" and denouncing "Zionist bullying." Alex Kane, a writer for anti-Israel site Mondoweiss, later gushed about Barghouti and Butler's talk, calling it "a fantastic event and a real big victory for free speech." Participants in the event reported a heavy police presence, meant to ensure that the event could proceed without a hitch. And so it did (if you disregard multiple accounts of pro-Israel students being ejected from the event -- which is a subject for another time).

Meanwhile, Across the Pond...

... support for free speech, it seems, only extends so far.

On Wednesday, Alon Roth-Snir, Deputy Ambassador of Israel to the United Kingdom, was scheduled to give a talk at the University of Essex in Colchester. In the period leading up the event, anti-Israel activists on campus had strongly denounced the decision to permit Roth-Snir's appearance, even starting a blog to collect statements on the matter, of which there were three in total. All three statements slammed what they referred to as the Department of Government's "invitation" to Roth-Snir. A Facebook event hosted by the University of Essex Students' Union called for a protest against the visit

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Christian Holocaust in our time – is it possible?

Howard Stern, Mediator and Negotiator.

The short answer is yes. One only has to consider the Egyptian Copts facing genocidal threats from the Moslem Brotherhood should they oppose the new government’s Sharia constitution to see the potential: a regime we helped bring to power!

So I must ask why the West is funding the systematic persecution, torture and discrimination of Christians, demonstrated well by Egypt having just been awarded $6.4 billion in “aid” by the EU. My concerns are echoed by Dutch novelist Leon de Winter, who recently stated that “offering aid to Egypt is the same as giving billions to Nazi Germany.” Many observers have commented on how the Arab Spring has become a Christian Winter. The Open Doors charity recently published its world watch list of nations who persecute torture and violate the rights of Christians. "Islamic extremism is the prime persecutor of Christians in the world today," said Ron Boyd-MacMillan, Open Doors' chief strategy officer, at a Washington D.C. news conference. Among 24 of the leading 30 persecuting countries, "it is Islamic extremists, either in government or in violent opposition forces, that are the source of the persecution," he said. The list of 50 countries -- which have a total Christian population of nearly 530 million, may be accessed online at:

Travelling regularly to Israel and the Palestinian territory I have noticed a disturbing trend over last eighteen months in which the rights of Holy Land Christians are being systematically eroded, with threats and discrimination by radical Islamists commonplace. Palestinian Christians say to me, in the privacy of their own homes, that they now regard Israel’s occupation of the disputed territory as their only protection. The Palestinian Territories rate 36/50 in the Open Doors watch list.

Notably, Israel is the only nation in the middle-east where Christianity is actually growing. This Christmas some 600 of the remaining 1500 Palestinian Christians in Gaza were issued permits by Israel to travel to Jerusalem and the West Bank. Many are seeking refuge in Israel stating they feel unsafe living among their Moslem neighbours. The Holy Land Christians are worried for their future. One Bethlehem Pastor I know well, whose identity cannot be disclosed, stated, “we think we have only five to seven years left and then there will be no more Christians in Bethlehem.” Once the City of David and long-time Christian stronghold, Bethlehem’s Christian population has declined from 85% to 9% and is now a Moslem city.

As with the funding of Egypt’s Moslem Brotherhood, I question why the EU and US fund the Palestinian Authority to the tune of $2.5billion (2010-11) when human right violations take place widely in their territory. While the West contributes vast amounts of money to prop up and embolden such regimes; pogroms, persecution and genocidal threats will continue against Christians. Worse still is the considerable amount of weaponry, munitions and military hardware flowing from the US and Europe to the region - in addition to our taxpayer’s money – weapons used against our own Christian family.

In many nations such as Iraq, Egypt, Nigeria and Syria, churches have been bombed and set on fire, homes ransacked, children terrorized. Men are dragged through the streets and killed. Women are abducted, raped and forcibly converted to Islam. Khaled Mashaal, a Hamas leader in Gaza, recently called on all Moslems and Christians to live as partners in a freed Palestine, whilst ignoring the methodical persecution of Christians throughout Africa, the Middle-East and Palestine.

I believe if action is not taken to halt the supply of arms and money to these regimes then the lives of many millions of Christians remain at risk. So what can be done? The Dutch novelist, de Winter, is withholding part of his tax. We Christians can’t do this for we must “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s.” But what we can do is lobby our MPs and MEPs to demand the cessation of funding and arms supplies to corrupt and violent regimes. I am well aware of the hurt and pain caused by the silence of the church in the Jewish Holocaust: my concern now is that history is repeating itself with the church appearing silent once again in the face of a second holocaust - of its own people.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Calm and the Calamity

Taking a few days off to visit the incredible wild flowers now seen in the Western Negev, we were touring just 3-4 kms from the border with Gaza. When we informed a friend in the States of our plans, her reaction was "isn't that dangerous?". I suppose that unless one lives here and is aware of the realities of way we live our lives, the influence of the media creates an image in one's minds that is totally removed from reality.

From our last visit to the area it was good to see that the government has finally got round to building safe rooms for those residents living close to the border with Gaza. Although there is still work to be done, we saw many, many homes such as those pictured below which avoids the need to run to an outside shelter within 15 seconds.

Addition of safe room to one's home gives more security

We had also read in a recent Jerusalem Post report that the shop owners in Sderot were still struggling after the enforced shutdown of their businesses due to the last outbreak of violence some weeks ago. Whilst the government has paid some compensation to shop owners, for many, it did not cover their expenses and they were finding it difficult to meet their obligations.

As we have a number of grandchildren's birthdays coming up shortly, my wife felt that we could help in a small way by buying presents in Sderot.

The newspaper referred to one specific shop keeper who had a jewelry shop "near the city center" and gave his name. We parked our car in the center and spent half an hour asking residents if they know of such a name. After the 5th or 6th time we hit the jackpot and found "Eduard". He was so overjoyed at our visit as a result of the newspaper write up. Unfortunately, he didn't have the type of item we were looking for but he introduced us to his friend nearby and we were pleased to be able to buy from him.   

Eduard in front of his jewelry shop
The calm and serene atmosphere, the peaceful quiet we felt as we toured the area made it difficult to believe that just a few short weeks ago, rockets were constantly raining down indiscriminently on all and sundry. The calamitous situation were life became abnormal was not apparent with anyone whom we talked to. In fact the kibbutz where we stayed escaped without a single hit. Yes, miracles did happen. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Business of Hate (continued)

Whilst there have been some half hearted apologies for the original Scarfe cartoon, published in The Sunday Times of London recently, from a number of sources, it is difficult to take the apologies seriously. See 

One wonders what would the consequences have been if such a cartoon had tried to give a similar message with reference to Islam, particularly as the Christian population is being hounded in so many places around the world by Islam. 

The newspaper Algemeiner seems to have countered the original cartoon in a novel way. Certain editors of many newspapers seem to feel that they can make the news rather than report it. Investigative reporting seems to have gone the way of manual typewriters, telegrams and their like.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Therapeutic Horseback Riding

From Aleh Hanegev comes a great story that I want to share with you
The Therapeutic Horseback Riding Program at ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran has made great strides forward – and residents are riding to success!

A pilot program was instituted a few months ago, and the results have proven amazingly successful! Horses and special carriages designed for the disabled are brought in from the north ever week, and a group of residents with varying disabilities participated in each pilot test, some as riders and some as passengers on specialized carriages pulled by one of the horses. Either a volunteer or Aleh staff member accompanied each resident, often walking alongside the horse or carriage or sitting together with the resident on the horse or cart. In many cases, a wheel chair was hoisted onto the carriage so as to ensure proper posturing and balance.

Before setting up the program, the physical conditions of the main track at the village had to be adjusted to accommodate the horses’ hooves, pebbles were removed from the smaller track, and sun shades were installed along both paths.

The program tracked the emotional responses of participants, as well as measuring balance, reaction between the rider and the horse, interest generated, speech and communication involving the activity, alertness to what was happening in the background and cognition of the entire process.

In addition to horsing around, participants have demonstrated improved physical abilities, balance and coordination while at the same time releasing tension and energy in a positive way and improved self-confidence.

The Riding Program at Aleh Negev-Nahlat Eran has proven so successful that it will be continued for an additional period of time and may eventually be incorporated into the school’s permanent curriculum. Ride On!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Business of Hate

The Scarffe cartoon in the UK Sunday Times that caused such an outcry and resulted in an apology by the editor shows a depth of disgust felt by so many and yet it didn't turn into the violence that is always shown when the so called freedom of expression by newspapers looks at Islam.

It is interesting to note how one media outlet turn the incident on its head.