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Jewish riot victim’s kidney gives new lease on life to Arab woman

‘This Jewish kidney has now become part of me,’ says Randa Aweis, after transplant from Yigal Yehoshua, killed by Arab Israelis in Lod; ‘We’re just people, we need to live together

Nathan Jeffay is The Times of Israel's health and science correspondent

Randa Aweis, 58, an Arab woman who has just received a kidney from Yigal Yehoshua, a Jewish man killed by Arab rioters in Lod, May 2021. Dr. Abed Halaila, head of the transplant department at Hadassah Medical Center, is standing next to her.  (courtesy of Hadassah Medical Center)
Randa Aweis, 58, an Arab woman who has just received a kidney from Yigal Yehoshua, a Jewish man killed by Arab rioters in Lod, May 2021. Dr. Abed Halaila, head of the transplant department at Hadassah Medical Center, is standing next to her. (courtesy of Hadassah Medical Center)

A kidney from a Jewish man killed by Arab rioters amid major unrest in mixed Jewish-Arab cities has been donated to an Arab woman at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center.

Randa Aweis, 58, urgently needed a new kidney, and 56-year-old Yigal Yehoshua, who died on Monday a week after being pelted with rocks in Lod, was registered as a donor.

Aweis, a Christian woman from Jerusalem, is making a successful recovery after her transplant, and has now spoken to the donor’s wife to thank her. “We are like family now,” she said, lauding the “noble deed.”

Her daughter Niveen told The Times of Israel on Thursday that she is making a good recovery and looking forward to an easier life now that she has received the transplant.

Yigal Yehoshua, 56, died after being struck in the head with a brick while driving home in Lod. (Courtesy)

“We are so grateful to the Yehoshua family,” she said. “We feel, all at once, joy over mom’s transplant, and pain at their tragedy that brought it about.”

She urged people to take a simple message from the story of the transplant.

“There is no such thing as Arabs and Jews,” she said. “Rather, we’re just people, and we need to live together.”

Her family now hopes to meet the Yehoshua family.

Aweis told Channel 12 news that she thought it was a prank when she received a call, after years of waiting, saying she had a new kidney ready for transplant.

Randa Aweis (Courtesy)

“This Jewish kidney has now become a part of me,” she said, offering condolences to Yehoshua’s family and declaring that she wants “peace between Jews and Arabs.”

On Thursday, Dr. Abed Halaila, head of the transplant department at Hadassah, visited Aweis and called the story of her new organ a symbol of hope.

He said: “We have just seen a woman receive a new organ, and a new lease of life, and I want to say a big thank you to the donor’s family.” He added: “I hope there will be peace and tranquility for all of us, and lots of good health.”

Yehoshua’s other kidney has gone to a Jewish man, Itzik Hodera, 67, and his liver has gone to a Jewish 22-year-old.

Yehoshua was buried on Tuesday in a large funeral where his family spoke of his belief in coexistence and of his decision to donate organs.

Family and relatives attend the funeral of Yigal Yehoshua on May 18, 2021, in Hadid. Yehoshua succumbed to injuries sustained in an attack during riots by Arab Israelis in Lod. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Efi Yehoshua told mourners that his brother Yigal would have been pained by the ongoing scenes of unrest in Jewish-Arab cities.

“You believed in coexistence,” he said, addressing his late brother. “You said, ‘It will not happen to me.’ You thought that everything would be fine.

“You have paid with your life — and given life to other people thanks to the donation of your organs,” he said.

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