Jerusalem, Sept. 22 (Reuters): The kidney of a Jewish teenager killed in a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv last week has been transplanted into a Palestinian girl who suffered from a disease that eventually leads to kidney failure.
Seven-year-old Yasmin Abu Ramila received the kidney of Jonathan Jesner, a 19-year-old student from Glasgow, Scotland, who was on a Tel Aviv bus on Thursday when a Palestinian militant detonated his explosives. Five people were killed outright. Jesner, who had postponed medical school to attend a religious school in Israel, was critically wounded and died a day later at a Tel Aviv hospital.
Officials at Schneider Children’s Hospital in the central Israeli town of Petah Tikva said today Yasmin was in good condition after yesterday’s transplant, but they said it would take time to be certain.
Jesner’s family volunteered to donate Jonathan’s organs and placed no restrictions on the choice of recipients. “We believed it was what he would have wanted us to do,” said his stepmother. His oldest brother, Ari Jesner, said after the transplant that the recipient’s religion or nationality was “unimportant”.
“The important principle here is that life was given to another human being,” he said. “We are happy and delighted that Yoni’s memory will live on.”
Yasmin and her family, who hold the Israeli identity cards given to residents of Arab East Jerusalem, are often subject to Israeli military closures at checkpoints and roads near their home in Aqab, a village between Ramallah and East Jerusalem.
Yasmin’s grandfather, Farouk, said reaching Schneider Hospital on Friday night was not simple. He said the Israeli army had clamped down on Aqab residents leaving the village at night, so when the family received the transplant offer at midnight they had to take a longer route.
Yasmin had waited two years for a donor to treat her genetic disorder that leads to kidney failure. She has received treatment in Jerusalem hospitals since she was an infant.
The Transplant Organisation usually allows one hour for candidates to respond to a transplant offer, general director Tamar Ashkenazi said. But in the case of the Abu Ramila family, the organisation waited two hours for the positive response.
Farouk expressed gratitude to the Jesner family and said he hoped to one day meet them and thank them personally.
“I don’t exclude the possibility (of a meeting) but... the wounds are all so open,” Ari Jesner told reporters. “We are very much in mourning.”