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100 Lebanese Refugees Now in Israel

There are about 100 Lebanese refugees presently in Israel–many of them women and children–who have crossed the border seeking medical help or simply a haven from the bloody warfare going on in their own country. Some of them are staying with Maronite Christian families in Jish, the largest Maronite village in Israel. Others are to be found in various hospitals and clinics.

They come to Israel for medical treatment because hospital facilities have broken down in the nearest Lebanese towns–Sidon and Marj Ayoun. Some sustained wounds in the fighting but there is a variety of other medical problems that Israeli doctors and nurses are handling voluntarily at no cost to the patients. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency visited a mobile clinic set up in an apple orchard near the Israeli border town of Metullah and the children’s ward at the Safad Hospital in Upper Galilee. At the latter, there was a ten-year-old Lebanese girl taking care of her five-year-old brother who was treated for a broken leg. Nurses told the JTA that the children were brought to the border by their parents who did not cross.

The girl kept a 24-hour vigil at her brother’s bedside. She would not leave for a minute, the nurses said because he feared for his safety in an “enemy” country. But after a time, the girl felt more comfortable in her new surroundings. She said she was well but was sorry she could not make friends with the Israeli children in the ward because of the language barrier.

Just a week ago, in the maternity ward of the same hospital, a Lebanese woman gave birth to a son, the first Lebanese “Sabra.” In Haifa, the JTA met a 16-year-old Lebanese boy who has had no trouble adjusting. He has been in the country two months, has a job and a room paid for by the Israeli government.

The refugees have one thing in common–fear of reprisals when they return home. For that reason, Israel is not publishing their photographs or names.

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