BUENOS AIRES (JTA) — An Argentinean-Israeli doctor was honored at the Buenos Aires city parliament as an “outstanding personality in the human rights field” for assisting victims of the Syrian civil war.
Dr. Alejandro Roisentul, who has lived in Israel for the last 28 years, received the kudos on Tuesday for his part in bringing Syrian patients to Ziv Medical Center in Safed, Israel.
“Syrian injured people, even children, who came to the border of Israel by foot, in very bad condition. The IDF brought them to our hospital and we the Israeli doctors, helped them, cured them. They looked at us as the enemy but after being taken care of in Israel they changed their views. I hope that these small steps also can help toward peace,” Roisentul told Argentinean media.
Roisentul was born in Buenos Aires in 1964 and graduated as a dentist from the University of Buenos Aires in 1986. Three years later he moved to Israel and joined the Israel Defense Forces. Currently he is head of the Maxillofacial Surgery Unit of Ziv Medical Center, a hospital located in Safed, in northern Israel, about 40 miles from the Syrian border.
The Tuesday ceremony was attended by parliamentarians, the country’s human rights secretary and the Israeli ambassador. The official website of the Buenos Aires parliament describes Roisentul as “an Israeli that heals and saves lives of Syrians who do not know their neighbors or have a distorted view (of them).”
Roisentul told local media that seven Syrians were treated at Ziv in 2013 and “more than 1,500 Syrian have been treated for free since then just in our hospital. I have received people with serious injuries to their head and mouth, most of them can’t talk or eat correctly, and they return to Syria with a smile on their face. We also help them with clothes and sometimes they live for months in the hospital … people without place to go.”
Roisentul also gave a lecture to the Maxillofacial Argentinean Society, held private meetings with Argentinean professors of medicine and meetings in Jewish institutions.
An extended interview with Roisentul will be aired Friday on one of the most popular prime time talk shows. In October, he will be recognized by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.