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Arab Woman Receives Kidney from Jewish Man Killed in Violence


Randa Aweis, right, who received a kidney transplant from Yigal Yehoshua, a Jewish man who died May 17 after clashes between Arabs and Jews in Israel’s mixed city of Lod, walks with her daughter, Nevine at Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital on May 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
Arab Woman Receives Kidney from Jewish Man Killed in Violence
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An Arab woman has received a kidney from a Jewish man killed in clashes between Arabs and Jews in the Israeli city of Lod.

The man, 56-year-old Yigal Yehoshua, died May 17 after being hit by rocks during riots in Lod, a mixed city of Israel’s Jews and Arabs.

The violence followed protests and clashes in Jerusalem that also led to an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas.

In the violence in Lod and other mixed cities inside Israel, groups of Arabs and Jews fought each other in the streets. Rioters also burned cars and businesses.

But after a series of violent days, there was a rare moment of hope. Randa Aweis, a 58-year-old mother of six, got one of Yehoshua’s kidneys after a 10-year wait. Yehoshua was registered as an organ donor and his kidney was identified as a medical fit for Aweis.

In this May 18, 2021 file photo, mourners attend the funeral of Yigal Yehoshua, 56, at a cemetery in Hadid, central Israel. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty, File)
In this May 18, 2021 file photo, mourners attend the funeral of Yigal Yehoshua, 56, at a cemetery in Hadid, central Israel. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty, File)

“I could not believe it,” Aweis told The Associated Press from the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem. “I’m telling you, I couldn’t believe it.”

She added: “People say he was a good man, that he didn’t do any harm, so why was he murdered? ... That’s forbidden. There must be peace between Jews and Arabs, real peace.”

Israelis have come to expect periodic unrest in Gaza and the occupied West Bank. But the latest violence shocked many Israelis by spilling over into other areas. The clashes hit closer to home for Israelis than at any point since the 2000 Palestinian intifada, or uprising, which lasted more than five years.

Israel’s Arab citizens, who make up 20 percent of the population, said the violence was rooted in longstanding tensions. Israeli Arabs have citizenship, including the right to vote, but they face widespread discrimination. They also have close familial ties to the Palestinians and largely identify with their movement. This leads many Jewish Israelis to treat them with suspicion.

Randa Aweis, who received a kidney transplant from Yigal Yehoshua, a Jewish man who died May 17 after being pelted with rocks amid clashes between Arabs and Jews in Israel’s mixed city of Lod, speaks during an interview, at Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital.
Randa Aweis, who received a kidney transplant from Yigal Yehoshua, a Jewish man who died May 17 after being pelted with rocks amid clashes between Arabs and Jews in Israel’s mixed city of Lod, speaks during an interview, at Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke about the Jewish man’s death when it was announced last week. “I share in the sorrow of the family of the late Yigal Yehoshua who was murdered in a lynch carried out by Arab rioters in Lod,” he said.

“We will settle accounts with whoever participated in this murder; nobody will escape punishment,” he added.

Police have arrested several suspects in connection with the violence.

Aweis never met Yehoshua, but she did speak to his wife on a tearful video call. She said she hopes to visit his family in person once she has recovered from the kidney transplant.

“Yigal saved me,” Aweis said. “And as much as I say thank you to the family, to everyone, it’s not enough.”

I’m Bryan Lynn.

The Associated Press reported this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the report for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in This Story

forbid v. to order someone not to do something

lynchv. to kill someone who has not been found guilty of a crime at a legal trial

participatev. to take part in or become involved in an activity

transplant n. a medical operation in which an unhealthy organ is replaced with a healthy one

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