JERUSALEM (JTA) – A young woman on a Birthright Israel trip hurriedly became an Israeli citizen to receive an emergency liver transplant.
Miriam Kishishvili, 19, of Georgia was diagnosed with the genetic Wilson disease a few days after arriving in Israel and experiencing pain and swelling in her extremities and stomach. The outbreak caused serious, irreversible damage to her kidney.
She would not have survived the trip home to the former Soviet republic, doctors said.
Israel’s absorption and interior ministries expedited her citizenship process so that Kishishvili could be eligible for an Israeli liver and receive Israeli insurance to pay for the operation.
Her 17-year-old brother, who is also in Israel on the Nativ-sponsored trip, also decided to start the aliyah process.