Arab and Jewish daughters put differences aside in kidney exchange | USA TODAY


Three pairs of kidney donors and recipients in Israel and the UAE saved each other in a series of pay-it-forward surgeries known as a cyclic exchange.
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At a time when the world seems rife with division and discord, what happened on July 28 reminds how mutual survival often depends on shared humanity triumphing over historical differences.

Tamar Ashkenazi, managing director of the Israel National Transplant Center, steps off the private jet used to shuttle a kidney from a living Jewish donor to an ailing Arab mother she did not know. The exchange between nations with typically chilly relations was historic, seeing three sets of donors helping three unknown recipients, regardless of nationality or religion.
Tamar Ashkenazi, managing director of the Israel National Transplant Center, steps off the private jet used to shuttle a kidney from a living Jewish donor to an ailing Arab mother she did not know. The exchange between nations with typically chilly relations was historic, seeing three sets of donors helping three unknown recipients, regardless of nationality or religion.

In this case, with the assistance of organ transplant experts in the United States, Israel and the United Arab Emirates, three pairs of kidney donors and recipients in Israel and the UAE saved each other in a series of choreographed, pay-it-forward surgeries known as a cyclic exchange.

While organ exchanges and cycles are not uncommon within countries, the procedure is far more difficult and rare between nations. Different time zones, national laws, divergent levels of medical expertise and facilities, the time-sensitive nature of transplants, and the vexing issue of black-market organ sales all conspire to keep international exchanges complex.

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