A kidney from a Jewish man killed by Arab rioters when violence exploded in mixed Jewish-Arab cities throughout Israel has been donated to an Arab woman.
Yigal Yehoshua, 56, died after being struck in the head with bricks by an Arab mob.
Randa Aweis, a Christian Arab woman from Jerusalem, is recovering successfully from the transplant surgery, carried out at Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in the capital city.
Aweis thanked Yehoshua’s widow, Irena, who is currently sitting shiva — the mourning week — for her husband. “We are like family now,” Aweis told her, thanking her for her “noble deed.”
“We are so grateful to the Yehoshua family,” Aweis’ daughter Niveen told The Times of Israel. “We feel, all at once, joy over mom’s transplant, and pain at their tragedy that brought it about.”
“There is no such thing as Arabs and Jews,” she said. “Rather, we’re just people, and we need to live together.”
She added that her family hopes to meet the Yehoshua family.
Aweis, a 58-year-old mother of six, told Channel 12 news that she thought it was a prank call when she was first informed that she would receive a new kidney after so many years of waiting.
“This Jewish kidney has now become a part of me,” she said.
She added that she wished for “peace between Jews and Arabs.”
On Thursday, Dr. Abed Halaila, head of the transplant department at Hadassah, visited Aweis and said her story was a symbol of hope, the Times of Israel reported.
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 was driving home from a religious event in his hometown of Lod when Arab rioters began hurling rocks at his car. When he tried to leave the car, the mob struck him multiple times with a rock to his head. Rioters also torched several synagogues and set fire to hundreds of cars. Many Jewish families were forced to quickly pack up their belongings and flee their houses.
“We will find and hold accountable whoever participated in this murder,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on the day of Yehoshua’s death. “Nobody will escape punishment.”
Irena called her husband a “paragon of coexistence who did not fear anything.”
At his funeral, Yehoshua’s six brothers eulogized him, and spoke of his decision to donate organs.
“You believed in coexistence,” Efi Yehoshua 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.
Yehoshua’s other kidney was donated to a 67-year-old Jewish man and his liver was donated to a Jewish 22-year-old.