Hadassah University Medical Center on Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus has suffered from
43 attacks on the campus by east Jerusalem Arabs since the beginning of this
year – even though they constitute more than a third of patients, the Knesset
Labor, Social Welfare and Health Committee heard on Tuesday.
Director Prof. Zvi Stern said that patients have choked on tear gas used to
protect the hospital, a doctor has fainted and a nurse was wounded when hit by a
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The committee’s acting chairman MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) – a
former burns specialist and plastic surgeon at Hadassah University Medical
Center before he entered politics – initiated the discussion.
that during the last “Nakba Day” events, 11 firebombs were thrown into the Mount
Scopus campus. There is “no doubt that the hospital has to be protected,”
Stern said that in 2010, there were 83 incidents in which
residents of the nearby Arab neighborhood of Issawiya threw rocks and firebombs
at Hadassah- Mount Scopus, or lit fires there.
“From the roofs of the
homes, rocks are thrown at the hospital. The security personnel wear
bullet-proof vests and helmets,” he said, “and staffers fear driving at night to
Some 38 percent of patients at the hospital are Arabs,
Nitzav-Mishne Haim Blumenfeld, acting commander of the
Israel Police Zion District, said that since last September, there have been
many disruptions in the area.
As Hadassah is the “only symbol of the
government in the area, I believe that the attacks from Issawiya are aimed at
the hospital,” said Blumenfeld. “We think it is nationalistic action against the
state. We have arrested dozens of residents aged nine to 43. Recently, we
started not only to react to violence but also to initiate.... community
action to strengthen the positive elements in the neighborhood. As a
result, the amount of violations is declining,” he added.
Hadash MK Dr.
Afou Agbaria said that “the real reason for their actions is that they are
protesting against their situation. They don’t receive help for their daily
problems, so they try to harm the hospital. Instead of investing in
[walls] and punishment, one must think about improving the quality of their
lives in infrastructure and roads, and not by repression.”
But the doctor
insisted that there was “no legitimacy for violence by residents, and added that
it was possible that the violence was “carried out by settlers or soldiers in
Palestinian guise to create a provocation.”
MK Orly Levy-Abecassis
(Israel Beitenu) suggested that the doctor serve as a mediator between the
hospital and residents of Issawiya and asked him to look into channels of
discussions for improving relations between the hospital and its Arab
Kadima MK Rachel Adatto, also a physician, said that the
hospital must be protected at state expense, even though it is not a government
institution. “There must be responsibility towards the patients and the staff,”
Eldad concluded that the Internal Security and Health
Ministries must act together with the Jerusalem Municipality to increase
security at Hadassah-Mount Scopus and to open channels of discussion with