Muslim Paramedic Joins Collaborative Operation To Rescue Jewish Ukrainian Refugees

On June 21st, two Ukrainian refugees began the final leg of their journey to a new home in Israel. In a collaborative operation run by the JDC, The Jewish Agency, and United Hatzalah, the two refugees, each suffering from a severe medical condition, were brought to Israel to receive medical care. The JDC brought the refugees out of Ukraine and The Jewish Agency arranged for housing for them in Warsaw, Poland while they waited for their flight. United Hatzalah volunteers Khaled Hardan, a Muslim paramedic from Wadi Ara, and Russian-speaking EMT Vicki Tiferet from Moshav Yuval, went to Warsaw to make sure that the patients were in stable enough condition to fly and then accompanied them on the trip providing them with continuous medical coverage the entire time. The plane landed early in the morning on June 22nd.  

Donia and her grandson being accompanied by Khaled and Vicki before boarding the plane in Warsaw

When the refugees arrived in Israel, as part of a Jewish Agency flight that carried over a hundred other refugees with them, they were met by United Hatzalah ambulance teams who took them directly from the airport to medical facilities in Israel so that they could continue their treatments and receive the proper care that they required. 


One of the refugees, a woman named Donia, is a Holocaust survivor. Donia was born in 1935 and watched as her mother and sister were murdered by the Nazis in 1942. She survived the Second World War and moved to Ukraine where she eventually married and lived in Odesa. Her daughter and granddaughter live in Israel and she has a grandson who lives in Ukraine but managed to exit the country to accompany her to the airport in Warsaw.  

Donia after landing in Israel on the way to the medical facility

The other refugee, a man named Gutnikov, arrived in Poland a month ago with his wife and three children from Mariupol. He had no previous medical complications, but while they were staying in a hotel in Poland prior to the flight he suffered a medical complication that left him immobilized and in need of continuing medical care. 


“Members of the Jewish Agency were worried that he wouldn’t be able to fly due to his recent medical complication,” Vicki said. “He required monitoring to make sure that his situation didn’t deteriorate any further, and as soon as he landed we had an ambulance waiting to take him to the hospital for immediate care. This family had waited a long time to immigrate to Israel, they suffered through bombings and watched the destruction of their city. We merited to help them come home thanks to the partnership with the JDC and the Jewish Agency.”

Gutnikov landing in Israel and being taken by ambulance to a medical facility

Khaled added, “This was a blessing for me to be able to go and help these people come to a safe place having fled the war in Ukraine. I am happy that I was part of the team that was able to bring them to Israel. I was blessed to be able to stand by this family and this woman and provide them with medical care during their journey.”

Khaled and Vicki assisting the refugees in Warsaw

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