After spending decades transporting Palestinians to Israeli hospitals, his mission did not stop after October 7

For nearly two decades, the Israeli nonprofit Road to Recovery has transported sick Palestinians roundtrip from checkpoints in Gaza and the West Bank to Israel for medical treatment.

On October 7, during Hamas’ brutal attacks on Israel, several of the group’s volunteers were killed. Others were taken hostage.

Today, Road to Recovery’s work continues, and Roth feels that it is as crucial as ever.

“We … believe that patient transportation has far greater value than just humanitarian assistance,” Roth said. “It is an opportunity for us to show our Palestinian neighbors a different face than what they know in their reality. It is a chance for encounters that break down barriers and stigmas.”

On October 8, volunteers were waiting at checkpoints at the West Bank to pick up Palestinian patients and their families. The organization currently transports between 40 to 50 patients a day between the checkpoints and Israeli hospitals and medical providers.

Roth started this work in 2006 as a way to cope with personal tragedy. In 1993, his brother Udi was kidnapped and killed by members of Hamas. After his loss, Roth channeled his anger into peace.

The organization says it has since provided transportation to more than 50,000 sick Palestinians.

“Each trip is an opportunity to make a ‘small hour of peace.’” Roth said. “Especially now, just to show compassion and love. … This is the medicine for the hostility and for the hateness.”

Sometimes, the Israeli volunteer drivers and Palestinian passengers are able to communicate in Arabic, Hebrew, or English. When there’s no shared spoken language, they communicate through gestures, which Roth finds to be more powerful than words.

“If we really want one day normal life for us and for the Palestinians, we should make effort to achieve it,” Roth said. “It’s not just that you sit and you wait that something will happen. You have to do something. In the Bible, there is a phrase … that you ask for peace, and you have to run after the peace in order that it will happen. This is our mission.”

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