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Fallen soldier’s organs save six lives

JERUSALEM — Staff Sergeant Yehonatan Yitzhak Semo was killed in battle in Gaza, but his organs — lungs, heart, liver, liver lobe, kidneys — have been donated to six patients in different hospitals, Israel’s National Transplant Center announced.

Fallen soldier Yehonatan Yitzhak Semo

The 21 year-old Semo, who had signed an organ donor card, served in the Paratroopers Brigade.

He was injured in combat in central Gaza on Nov. 10 and taken to the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikvah. Doctors were not able to save him.

A resident of Karmei Tzur, near Hebron, Semo is survived by four younger siblings, and now six patients whose lives he saved.

“Yonatan did everything with a smile, out of understanding, commitment and a desire to help. The fact that a part of him will continue to live and help others, there is nothing more uplifting than that,” the Semo family said.

Semo’s lungs were transplanted into 36-year-old Meir Atsaba, also of Kiryat Gat. The father of two had suffered from lung disease which became life-threatening when he contracted coronavirus.

“I am very grateful to the Samo family for doing the most noble thing in their most painful moment. In the midst of this war and the terrible days, I received a ray of light and air to breathe,” said Atsaba.

Yaakov Malka, a 46-year-old father of four from Kiryat Gat received the heart.

He suffered from heart failure and at one point had even received an artificial heart.

“This heart, which was once in the body of the late Jonathan and today beats in the body of Yaakov, is the heart of the State of Israel,” said Prof. Dan Aravot, Beilinson Hospital’s director of the cardiac and thoracic surgery unit who performed the heart transplant.

Semo’s liver was donated to a 51- year-old patient while the liver lobe was transplanted into an eight month-old baby.

The kidneys were transplanted into a 10-year-old child and a 50- year-old patient.

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