Cribs for newborn babies are seen through an window at a nursery in a hospital in Jerusalem, September 10, 2015..
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Health Ministry director-general Moshe Bar Siman Tov said Thursday he will invite hospital heads for a meeting to discuss reports of systematic separation of Jewish and Arab new mothers in maternity wards.
“I have heard from the media, but now I want to hear from the hospital directors,” said Bar Siman Tov. “We will look into it. I don’t think new regulations are needed to ensure equality, but if they are necessary, we will issue them.”
Bar Siman Tov said he would be summoning the heads of both Hadassah-University Medical Centers and Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem and Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba to discuss reports that hospitals comply with separation requests from maternity patients. All of the hospitals denied any such division among patients.
Hospitals, health fund clinics, district health offices, well-baby clinics and emergency health services all give medical treatment to all people, Bar Siman Tov said.
“This expresses the strength of the health system.”
The ministry does not accept separation as a result of discrimination, he said, and the National Health Insurance Law ensures equal treatment for all patients.
The director-general added that, even in the current wave of terrorism, hospitals have managed to remain islands of sanity and calm and relationships between groups have not exploded.
“We will not be silent if discrimination is occurring,” he said.
On Tuesday, Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi sent a letter to Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman stating: “We request that you examine all of the hospitals in the country in order to stop this terrible practice. It cannot be allowed to surrender to the bad spirits that blow all over the country.”