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On June 2, a Palestinian family of three crashed into a bus in the West Bank, killing the father and critically injuring the mother, according to Today. Along with his mother, 9-month-old baby boy Yamen was brought to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center’s emergency room in Jerusalem. He only experienced minor injuries, but he was growing hungry fast. According to his aunts, the child was breastfed by his mother and was refusing to take milk by the bottle.
Yamen’s aunts spoke to nurse Ola Ostrowski-Zak, asking if she knew anyone who could breastfeed the child. As it turns out, Ostrowski-Zak is a mother herself of an 18-month-old son. She offered to breastfeed Yamen, who quickly relaxed. According to Ostrowski-Zak, the baby’s aunts praised her, saying that they never expected a Jewish woman to help their family.
“I was emotional about this sad assumption,” Ostrowski-Zak told Today. “I know any Jewish mother would have done the same.”
RESPECT: Jewish nurse won hearts around the world after she was pictured breastfeeding Palestinian boy whose mother was wounded in car crash pic.twitter.com/Dhf4WaDUeM
— Israel News Feed (@IsraelHatzolah) June 8, 2017
Lovely story on @GLZRadio now about Jewish Israeli neonatal nurse who breastfed a Palestinian baby whose mom was unconscious (w permission)
— Lahav Harkov (@LahavHarkov) June 5, 2017
Before her shift ended, Ostrowski-Zak posted a Facebook message on an Israeli group, asking volunteers to help feed Yamen. Within two hours, over a thousand people liked her status, according to Today, and women from all over Israel offered to drive over just to make sure Yamen was fed.
While there is no shortage of debate over the Israel-Palestine conflict, as well as Zionism’s place in feminism (the story seems to have gotten traction via Zionist organization Hadassah), Ostrowski-Zak’s deed has mostly been received as a simple act of kindness.
“The human connection is very strong,” Ostrowski-Zak said.
Ana Valens is an LGBTQ reporter and essayist for the Daily Dot. Her work has previously appeared in Bitch, the Establishment, Vice's Waypoint, Rolling Stone's Glixel, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.