A patient in the United Arab Emirates is to receive a life-saving organ transplant this week after an Israeli woman donated her kidney.
Shani Markowitz Manshar, 39, is expected to undergo surgery this Wednesday to donate one of her kidneys, giving a new lease of life to a patient in Abu Dhabi as part of a wider organ donation program between the two countries.
The program is the latest in ties between the two Middle Eastern countries which normalized relations last year under the Abraham Accords, crafted by the administration of then-US President Donald Trump.
Steve Walz, global media spokesperson for Sheba Medical Center, said the program is expected to open the door for more life-saving organ donations in both countries.
“There will be more organ transplants and medical tourism like this coming down the line in the next couple of months,” he said.
The procedure is a three-way kidney exchange as part of the same donor program between the two countries.
Manshar’s mother is also in dire need of a kidney transplant and will be hospitalized at Sheba for her own procedure this week, while a patient at Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa will receive a transplant from a donor in the UAE.
Following Wednesday’s operation which will be filmed in part according to Sheba’s spokesperson, Manshar’s kidney will be transferred to Abu Dhabi, making history as the first Israeli organ transplant to an Abu Dhabi resident.
“We are now able to do things that weren’t possible before thanks to the Abraham Accords, and helping citizens in the Gulf is a top priority for us,” says Walz.
On June 20, a delegation from Sheba Hospital arrived in the UAE to further cooperation in the medical field. Sheba signed an MOU with both Abu Dhabi Health Authority and Dubai Health Authority, and medical tourism was among the agreed priorities.
Since the signing of the Abraham Accords on September 15, multiple agreements have been signed in the fields of health, aviation, tourism, food security, agriculture, and defense among others.
Earlier this month the UAE officially opened the Gulf’s first embassy in Tel Aviv in a flag-raising ceremony in what Israeli President Isaac Herzog called “an important milestone in our journey towards the future, peace prosperity and security” for the Middle East.
Last month Israel’s new foreign minister Yair Lapid also inaugurated its embassy in the UAE during a two-day trip to the country.