UAE-Israel: Historic kidney transplant underway

Sheba Medical Center says this is part of a wider organ donation programme between the two countries.

A three-way kidney transplant effort between Israel and the United Arab Emirates began at 5.30am on Wednesday in what is the first organ exchange of its kind since the Abraham Accords.

As a patient in Abu Dhabi eagerly waited in one of Seha’s hospitals for the life-saving transplant, 39-year old Shani Markowitz entered the operating room in Ramat Gan for a three-hour operation that would have her kidney removed.

The healthy kidney left Sheba Medical Center for the airport at 8:15am and made its way to Abu Dhabi on a three-hour private flight.

The same fight will then return to Israel with another kidney meant for an Israeli patient at Rambam Hospital.

By this evening, both Abu Dhabi and Israeli residents are expected to be in recovery with a new cross-border organ exchange that will ultimately save three lives — Markowitz’s mother will also receive a kidney match as part of this exchange.

Sheba Medical Center says this is the first of many life-saving transplants made possible following the Abraham Accords and is part of a wider organ donation programme between the two countries.

The programme is the latest development in ties between the UAE and Israel, who recently opened embassies in Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi.


Michal Michelle Divon

An Israeli journalist and a TV host, Michal is working as a Senior Editor and Producer for Khaleej Times. She specializes in hosting live interviews, moderating panels, emceeing events, and producing video content across platforms.

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