Polls show most Israelis oppose segregating Jews and Arabs in hospitals

A poll presented on Channel 2’s “Meet the Press” Saturday night found that only a third (34 percent) of Israelis support separating Jews and Arabs in maternity wards.

April 9, 2016 21:18
1 minute read.

Long empty hospital corridor (illustrative). (photo credit: INGIMAGE)

Most Israelis oppose segregated maternity wards in hospitals, a survey found after reports of the illegal practice sparked controversy last week.

A poll presented on Channel 2’s Meet the Press Saturday night found that only a third (34 percent) of Israelis support separating Jews and Arabs in maternity wards, and 61% opposed it, while another 5% did not know. The poll’s margin of error was 4.3 percentage points.

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The vast majority of Israelis (82%) said they would be willing to have an Arab doctor treat them, with only 13% opposing the option.

The poll was taken online on April 7 by Midgam Research and Consulting among 505 people, a representative sample of Israeli adults.

The Israel Democracy Institute reported in its 2015 Democracy Index that 77.8% of Jewish Israelis said it does not make a difference if a Jewish or Arab doctor treated them or their children, and 91.4% of Israeli Arabs agreed.

In other words, the assessment by MK Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi), that most of the public agrees with him when he advocated such a separation, is inaccurate.

Most of the public also disagrees with Smotrich’s wife, who said in a televised interview that she would not want an Arab doctor delivering her baby.

Smotrich said on Tuesday that “after giving birth [his] wife wants to rest and not have a party like Arab women do,” and his “wife would not want to lay down next to someone who just gave birth to a baby who might want to murder her baby in 20 years.”

His remarks followed an Israel Radio report that several hospitals around the country separated Jewish and Arab women in the maternity ward, at some women’s requests, though it is illegal. The hospitals denied the allegations The report and Smotrich’s support of the policy sparked outrage across the political spectrum.

On Saturday, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid said, “Smotrich is a terrorist attack on Israeli public diplomacy. He is standing with [far-left NGO] Breaking the Silence in slandering Israel to the world.”

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