Less than a year after signing the normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, an Israeli woman is set to give a kidney to a patient in Abu Dhabi as part of a new cross-border organ donation program.
According to the Ynet news site, 39-year old Shani Markowitz Manshar is slated, pending final approval, to donate her kidney this week at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer.
As part of the same donation program, a patient at Rambam Health Care Campus, Haifa will receive a transplant from a donor in the UAE.
Manshar's mother also requires a kidney transplant and will be hospitalized at Sheba for her own procedure this week; the slated donor is a relative of the patient hospitalized at Rambam, the site reported.
"I'm supposed to go in for surgery the next day, and the surgery will be around three hours. Then my kidney will be flown to Abu Dhabi, and my mother will come in after me for surgery,” Manshar stated, adding that she had not hesitated to agree to the donation.
Prof. Eitan Moore of the Sheba Transplant Center told Ynet that the organ donation program was “very significant.”
“Now I can talk to my colleagues in Abu Dhabi freely, thanks to the Abraham Accords,” he said, referring to the normalization deal. “This is a step that may promote peace. When I spoke to the doctors from Abu Dhabi, they said that they were also happy to be partners for the first time.”
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According to the website of the National Transplant Center, over 1,000 Israelis – adults and children alike – are waiting for organ transplants. Of those, about 700 are awaiting kidneys, 150 livers and 70 for lung transplants. Another 120 people are on the waiting list for a heart transplant.
Brought together by shared worries about Iran and hopes for commercial boons, the UAE and Bahrain normalized relations with Israel last year under a series of agreements called the Abraham Accords, brokered by the administration of then-U.S. President Donald Trump. Sudan and Morocco have since also moved to establish ties with Israel as well.
Reuters contributed to this report.