Palestinian Heart Saves Dying Israeli

One Israeli man dying of a failing heart learned today that he would live, thanks to a Palestinian family who donated the heart of one of its members slain in the escalating violence wracking Israel.

Yigal Cohen, an Israeli who faced certain death from a weakening heart, got a new one today from Mazen Joulani, a Palestinian man whose family says he was shot and killed by Jewish settlers at an outdoor café.

They decided to donate the organ to an Israeli anyway.

"My brother was a pharmacist," said Maher Joulani. "He knew what it meant to save a human life."

Joulani's father Lotfi told Israeli media he would be willing to donate the organs if it "saved lives, Jews or Muslims."

'Inside We Are All the Same'

After clinging to life for four months, the father of two can expect to go home to his wife and children soon.

"It's unbelievable," said Cohen. "I don't have many words but I hope that this will bring our hearts together."

Dr. Yaacov Lavie, the cardiologist at Tel Hashomer Hospital near Tel Aviv who performed the transplant, said, "When I told him it was the heart of a Palestinian he was totally amazed."

Lavie said during the operation, he felt much the same way: "You realize that you're actually holding a Muslim heart in one hand and a Jewish heart in the other hand, and you suddenly realize they're absolutely identical and totally interchangeable.

"You smile to yourself and see that deep inside we are exactly the same and all the conflicts are completely unnecessary," he told Israel Radio.

But Lavie told Reuters it was disturbing to think some Palestinian families would donate organs to save Jews, while others would send their families to commit suicide, referring to the bombing last Friday that killed 20 people and the bomber.

An Abundant Sacrifice

The bombing was also the night Mazen Joulani's family decided to donate his organs, Lavie told Reuters.

Israeli police are investigating Joulani's death, but they told Reuters they believe he was killed in a feud with other Palestinians.

In addition to Cohen, Mazen Joulani will save three other lives. Mazen's lungs, liver and kidney have been transplanted into three other Israelis.

ABCNEWS' Bob Woodruff contributed to this report.

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