Israel starts medical rehab program for wounded Ukrainians

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JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's prime minister said Tuesday that two Ukrainians wounded in the war with Russia will receive specialized medical care in a new program in Israel, which has stayed neutral during the conflict.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid said that up to 20 patients would get treatment in Israel, which “has extensive experience in rehabilitating injured and amputated people," referring to medical expertise developed over decades of conflict. Depending on their injuries, the patients will be sent to various facilities across Israel.

“We have excellent medical teams and hospitals that have opened their doors and hearts to Ukraine’s injured," Lapid said.

Israel is one of only a few countries that has good relations with both Russia and Ukraine. Lapid and his recent predecessor, Naftali Bennet, have met with both Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is Jewish.

Israel has delivered tons of humanitarian aid to Ukraine. However, it has also balanced fears of provoking Moscow in Syria or endangering Jews inside Russia against direct calls from Zelenskyy for military aid and international pressure to impose sanctions on Russia or its oligarchs, some of whom are Jewish and have strong ties to Israel.