NAHARIYA, Israel -- An Israeli hospital recently gave new life to a Muslim boy from Ethiopia after he was nearly eaten alive by a ferocious hyena.
Eight-year-old Abdulrazak, who lives with his family in a mud hut, languished in an Ethiopian hospital for six months after the attack. He had no hope of recovery until a Jewish doctor discovered him there.
Through the help of the friends of Western Galilee Medical Center and others he was brought to Israel for treatment along with his father.
"The father jumped on the hyena, and grabbed him by the back legs so he couldn't run," Dr. Eyal Sela, and ear, nose and throat specialist, recounted the attack. "And he started beating him, but he wouldn't let go of the kid."
"Then other people came with sticks and knives and then let he him go, and the hyena ran away," he continued. "But he injured 17 people and killed six kids."
Dr. Masad Barhoum, the head of the center, said, "I can't save the world, but I will try to save... this child and his family. Now if you see him with his father going around the hospital, everybody says 'Hello' to him. And it's lovely."
"The first time I saw him I cried," Dr. Sela recalled. "It's horrific to see a kid like this that an animal mutilated his face."
"Every time we had to change the dressing, the father was crying -- he was crying, the nurses were crying, I was crying, everybody was crying," he said.
Dr. Sela operated on Abdulrazak and reconstructed his ear and jaw and attended other head injuries.
"Without the surgeries, I don't think he would have survived," Sela said.
Unfortunately, Abdulrazak won't be able to see in the right eye because of the hyena bite. But Dr. Sela said he will have a normal life.
"He's a kid. He's very strong. He's very strong and he's a very happy kid," Sela added.
The hospital staff gave him a farewell party when he left. His father said through an interpreter he was extremely happy and would tell everyone when he goes home what Israel did for him and his son.
"The fact that he's Muslim, it doesn't, here in Israel we're all mixed together - Muslims, Christians, Jews -- you know that. So we don't see religion, we don't see color. We don't see these things," Sela said.