It looks like a standard scene in the corner of the children’s intensive care unit at a hospital in this northern Israeli town. The counter is jammed with stuffed animals, and balloons shaped like princesses float against the ceiling. A nervous, silent father hovers over his injured daughter.
But he and the girl are Syrians, spirited across the border by the Israeli military for medical treatment unavailable amid the civil war at home. He is silent because he cannot speak Hebrew, nervous because his presence in Israel, Syria’s long-time enemy, could place his family in danger if his trip is discovered.
He came to the hospital six days ago, following after his daughter. He refuses to say how he arrived, and hospital staff step in quickly to deflect questions about the journey. He has no contact with his family at home. All of this, he says, is worth it. . .