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What this Jewish Nurse did to a Palestinian baby will have you in tears


1. The Jewish nurse

One Jewish nurse and mother in Israel unknowingly changed the course of a family’s life and brought people together as people, not by their social labels.

Ula Ostrowski-Zak

Channel 2

Some may call it the ‘golden rule,’ others may call it simple humanity, but in the swirling chaos of the complex Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one woman came to the rescue when another was in need of love and compassion.

Read on to find out just how she managed to shock everyone.

2. Hebron

A Palestinian family of three from Hebron was traveling along Route 60 in the West Bank. Route 60, a major thoroughfare in the region, connects northern Nazareth to southern Beersheva. Cutting across Israel and the West Bank it is used by both Israelis and Palestinians.

Hebron

Yuvalhuck/Wikimedia Commons

The mother, father and 9-month-old baby Yaman Abu Ramila were traveling to visit family during Ramadan when disaster struck, forever changing their lives.

3. Disaster

While travelling along Route 60 the Palestinian family’s vehicle collided head on with an armored Israeli passenger bus. It was not initially clear who was responsible for the accident.

Scene of the accident

Magen David Adom

Bus services in the West Bank are armored to protect passengers as they frequently come under attack by rock throwers, Molotov cocktails and even gunfire. There is no knowing when or where it will happen, or which side it will come from.

4. A family torn apart

The bus and passengers on board were well protected in the collision, however the Palestinian family was unfortunately not so lucky.

Yaman's father

Channel 2

The father of the Palestinian family, Muwafaq, was declared dead on the scene of the crash. The mother, who had not been wearing a seat-belt, was severely injured in the collision.

5. Hadassah Ein Kerem

9-month-old Yaman sustained light injuries and was transferred to Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center in Jerusalem, along with his mother, Suhair.

Haddasah Ein Kerem Medical Center

Avraham Graicer/Wikimedia Commons

Hadassah Ein Kerem is known for being one of the best medical facilities in Israel, however one nurse would prove that they go above and beyond the call of duty.

6. Mother’s condition

Yaman’s mother, Suhair, sustained a serious head injury in the crash and was left in critical condition, unconsciousness and unstable.

Yaman's mother

Channel 2

With her condition rapidly declining, fighting for her life, she was placed on a ventilator in the Intensive Care Unit.

7. Baby Yaman

Jewish Trauma Unit nurse Ula Ostrowski-Zak was first on duty staff member to examine Palestinian baby Yaman in the Trauma Center.

Baby Yaman

Channel 2

“I heard the baby in the station next to the mother, and I heard him cry. I knew it was a good sign,” she told Israel’s Channel 2 News.

Read on to find out just how she managed to shock everyone.

8. Exhaustion

Jewish nurse Ula was on yet another weekend double-shift and due to end her first shift in the Trauma Center and start the second in the children’s wing of the ER.

Jewish nurse Ula Ostrowski-Zak

Channel 2

“One of the aunts was holding him, and I saw that he was visibly in discomfort. Twisting, turning, and searching for something.”

9. Hunger

Ula explained that they tried giving him a bottle, anything to get him to eat. But until now baby Yaman only breastfed, and only with his mother.

Yaman before the accident

Channel 2

Yaman had now been over seven hours without food, his mother unable to feed him, and Yaman had been non-stop crying ever since he arrived.

10. Distress

The Palestinian family was in obvious distress. At their wits end, they had exhausted all options by this point and didn’t know what the future may hold.

ICU sign in Hadassah Hospital

Channel 2

Ula told the family that she would finish her rounds and be back to speak with them. Upon returning, one of the aunts exclaimed, “Bas! (That’s it!), he needs someone to breastfeed him.”

11. The bold move

“Ok, so I’ll breastfeed him,” Jewish nurse Ula told Yaman’s family. At this point in time Ula didn’t realize what such a kind proposal would mean to this Palestinian family or how it would make shock-waves around the world.

Jewish nurse Ula Ostrowski-Zak and baby Yamin

Channel 2

“They were in shock. They couldn’t believe that a Jewish mother would do such a thing.” When asked why she did it, Ula responded that she “saw a baby, a hungry baby. Any mother would do it.”

12. No one else will help

Ula Ostrowski-Zak was preparing to head home for the day to take care of her own two children, one only 18-months-old, when she received a call from her grandmother.

Emergency services

Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images

Her grandmother cautioned her about leaving the child alone, “but what about Yaman?”, no other Jewish mother would agree to breastfeed a Palestinian child, she said.

13. Staying positive

“I was emotional about this sad assumption,” Ula said puzzled by the thought of any mother refusing to help a baby in need. “I know any Jewish mother would have done the same.”

Jewish nurse Ula Ostrowski-Zak and baby Yaman

Twitter

She said Yaman quieted as soon as he began feeding. “I felt a unique connection with him,” she said. “It felt pretty similar to feeding my own son.”

14. A call to arms

The thought that others would refuse to nurse Yaman threw Ula into action. She quickly took to Facebook to organize a group of volunteers to help breastfeed the hungry baby.

Milk aisle

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The post quickly received over a thousand responses, shares and likes. The group of nursing mothers dubbed themselves the ‘La Leche League.’

15. Facebook response

“Within two hours I received more than a thousand likes and responses from women who volunteered to help, women who were willing to travel even from Haifa to breastfeed him. In between, I continued to try to expose the child to the bottle but without success,” Ula said.

Facebook likes

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The post read: Is there a mother from Jerusalem, near Hadassah Ein Kerem, that can come nurse a baby boy 9-months-old. The boy was injured after a car accident.

16. Reactions

While Ula’s post received mostly positive feedback and numerous volunteers responded that they were willing to pitch in to help, however not all of the reactions were quite so positive.

Facebook logo

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

“It’s very difficult for me to think about the possibility that one day this baby may pull out a knife and endanger the nurse’s life, or one of her family members,” one Facebook post read.

“Great, he will grow up to be a terrorist…,” read another.

17. Politics

“There is no connection to politics in what I did,” Ula stated. “Many people jump to the conclusion that I am a radical left-winger.”

Jewish nurse Ula Ostrowski-Zak

Channel 2

Jewish nurse Ula Ostrowski-Zak says that politics have no place in such matters. It’s about being human. Being compassionate. Treating others how you want to be treated.

18. Ula’s boss reacts

In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2, Ula’s boss exclaimed, “What do you want to ask me? About the heart attack that [Ula] gave me?”

Ula's boss

Channel 2

Ula’s boss whent on to explain that what she did was highly unusual and far outside of normal protocol. The gesture, he said, left the hospital vulnerable to lawsuits, the hospital’s legal team however came together to solve the matter with incredible speed.

19. Nurse Ula’s background

Prior to being a nurse, Ula was a professional dancer for over 20 years. She carries an MA in Dance, but today she only spectates from the side of the dance floor and cheers people on.

Jewish nurse Ula Ostrowski-Zak dancing

Channel 2

Only later in life did she decide to start a nursing degree. Today she channels her dance passion through her work as a nurse. Surly she didn’t know what the future would hold in store for her and how many lives she would touch when she decided to change her career path.

20. Mother remains behind

Yaman is now back home in Hebron with his loving family. His aunts have arranged for another family member to stay with them and breastfeed Yaman. They also invited Jewish nurse Ula to their home for a visit and to check up on the baby.

Jewish nurse Ula Ostrowski-Zak and Yaman's aunt

Channel 2

Suhair, Yaman’s mother, remains in serious condition at Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center in Jerusalem. She hopes to soon be reunited with her baby boy in Hebron.

21. A heartfelt reunion

Nurse Ula traveled to Hebron to visit Yaman and their reunion was heart-wrenching. Yaman appeared to remember Ula, and the tears were aplenty.

Jewish nurse Ula Ostrowski-Zak and baby Yaman with aunt

Pinterest

Yaman’s family, thankful beyond words, accepted Jewish nurse Ula into their home and family with open arms. With cries of Happy Ramadan the women embraced not knowing if they would see each other again.

22. He is like your own son now

During their heart-felt reunion Ula discovered that there was a second meaning to the compassionate act she did for Yaman.

Muslims praying

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Yaman’s aunt, through tears of joy, stated that after Ula’s gracious nursing she is now also Yaman’s mother. “In Islam, it’s like this,” she said.

23. The real Israel

“This story represents the real Israel,” Ula said. Hoping that her story would help create more cooperation and understanding between Israelis and Palestinians.

Jewish nurse Ula Ostrowski-Zak and Yaman reunite

Channel 2

“Any mother in Israel would have helped him. The human connection is very strong.” A mother’s instinct is to help children in need, to assume otherwise is damaging and hateful.

24. Ambassadors

According to Jewish nurse Ula, Yaman’s family in Hebron will now be ambassadors for Israel and help spread the truth of all human kindness, regardless of religion.

Jewish nurse Ula Ostrowski-Zak, Yaman and aunt

Twitter

They will be able to bridge the gaps between the two nations and help debunk hateful stereotypes. Yaman’s family say that Ula’s generosity has touched them deeply and that it won’t be a gesture they soon forget.

25. Return to conflict

Ula’s story strikes an emotional cord in particular with the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Her story sheds light onto the true nature of human kindness, and shatters the cruel stereotypes of racism and bigotry.

Palestinians Riot with Police

Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images

No matter the side or the conflict, no one should ever lose their humanity. Take note from Ula’s selflessness. We should all strive to be the best we can be.

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