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February 20, 2013 11:55 am

Israeli Authorities Move to Repatriate 12-Year-Old Cancer Survivor Found Living in a Thai Buddhist Monastery

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A Thai Buddhist Monk prays. Photo: Wikipedia

The story of a 12-year-old Israeli boy found living in a monastery in India has made waves since a report on Israel’s Channel 2 aired Tuesday night and has prompted Israeli officials to explore ways of returning the boy to his parents.

The boy was found by Israeli tourists who were visiting his monastery in Thailand, and were taken aback when he approached them and started speaking fluent Hebrew.

The child reportedly underwent a series of treatments to cure a blood cancer that he was diagnosed with at the age of three. According to the boy’s parents and the social worker who handled the case, the medical treatment failed, and the parents, at the advice of monks, decided to send him to a Buddhist monastery in Thailand.

The mother explained that thanks to the care he received in the monastery, his blood tests had improved. “There’s an enlightened man in the monastery, and he is keeping the boy alive,” she told Channel 2.

“It’s life energy. Do only doctors heal? Doctors don’t know how to heal. Doctors can only dismantle the harmful elements. That’s a different concept.”

Israel’s Child Welfare Council Director Dr. Yitzhak Kadman told Channel 2 that this is a serious event that would be dealt with urgently. “We received information about it and went immediately to all relevant ministries,” said Kadman. “This is a very serious case.”

According to Kadman, the situation where the child is thousands of miles from home, living in a convent with older people who do not speak his language, is “intolerable.” Consequently, the Child Welfare Council decided to contact the authorities and ensure an official representative of Israel went to meet the boy.

“A child is not the property of the parent in the sense that he or she can do with they want with the child – the child is a person and his or her safety and welfare must be taken into account with the mobilization of all authorities to guarantee the child’s safe return. ”

Dr. Isaac Yaniv, Director of the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology division at Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel, warned that the child may suffer in the future from other diseases due to lack of appropriate medical surveillance. “This might hurt his health,” he explained, adding that esoteric treatments were not a substitute for medical ones.

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