My name is Yoel Hirsch and I want to tell you my story of how with Ameinu’s help I am able to make a life-saving difference in the lives of my Palestinian neighbors and do my part for peace between our two peoples.
I am one of some hundreds Israelis who volunteers through Road to Recovery. Each has a personal story. I wanted to briefly share mine and to encourage you to help us too.
I live on Kibbutz Afikim, in Northern Israel. For the past three years, I have been a volunteer for Road to Recovery, Ameinu’s partner in Israel, which ensures that Palestinian patients can reach Israeli hospitals while making person-to-person connections with Israeli Jews like me.
I was involved in a car accident in the 1980s that left me paralyzed from waist down. Since then, each day I have dedicated myself to overcoming my disability and refusing to let it keep me from helping others.
The compassion and commitment of Road to Recovery, and the vision of its founder Yuval Roth, who lost his brother in a terrorist attack and decided to dedicate his grief to bringing people together, speaks to me in a powerful way.
So now, every week I wake up very early and drive to one of the West Bank checkpoints to meet the Palestinian patients I assist. While they started out simply as Palestinians in need of care, now they are Ahmed, Nur, Yamen, Samar, Salem and Janin.
Without us, they would never be able to reach the medical care they desperately need. I also now have created so many friendships with the patients’ families. I share with them my life as an Israeli Jew, and hear the heartbreaking stories of the daily experiences of my new Palestinian friends.
You should know that Ameinu is building a nationwide network of support for Road to Recovery across the United States. With Ameinu’s help we will:
-Greatly increase the number of volunteers, patients and miles driven;
-Create an expanded service for the many suffering patients from Gaza;
-Ensure that West Bank patients learn about our service and have access to care;
-Enhance our transportation with special recreational programs to create even stronger relationships between Israelis and Palestinians.
Each day when I drive for Road to Recovery, I overcome challenges. But I know that these challenges are nowhere near as difficult as those faced by my Palestinian friends, or by our two peoples kept apart by decades of fear, distrust and violence.
On behalf of all Road to Recovery volunteers like me, thank you for your generous support.
Road to Recovery Volunteer
Kibbutz Afikim, Israel