Hospitals admit to separating Jewish and Arab women at maternity wards

The separation is said to be according to the desires of both Jewish and Arab women, hospitals say, pointing out this isn’t the only time Jews and Arabs will not meet.

April 25, 2019 06:41
1 minute read.
Palestinian midwife Sara Abu Taqea (L), 23, who works in the maternity ward at Gaza's Al-Ahli hospit

Palestinian midwife Sara Abu Taqea (L), 23, who works in the maternity ward at Gaza's Al-Ahli hospital, speaks with her colleague at the hospital in Gaza City, February 10, 2019. . (photo credit: REUTERS/SAMAR ABO ELOUF)


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Hadassah Medical Center, Mount Scopus, HaEmek Medical Center and Soroka Medical Center admitted to separating Jewish and Arab women in maternity wards, the Hebrew daily Haaretz reported on Thursday.

The statement came from the Clalit health fund, which represents HaEmek and Soroka in an ongoing discrimination lawsuit against these facilities for discrimination. Hadassah issued a similar statement.

The separation is said to be in accordance with the wishes of the women, who prefer to be with those of the same background and culture, the official response claims.

“The purpose of staying in a maternity ward is not to create a forced ‘melting pot’ experience,” Clalit health fund wrote in a letter to the court, adding that often ultra-Orthodox women ask to be placed with like-minded women due to concerns regarding kosher food.

The response denies that there is a set policy to separate Jews from Arabs.

Hadassah Medical Center claimed the lawsuit is “ridiculous” pointing out that the four women who filed the lawsuit chose to return to the same hospitals where they allegedly felt discrimination despite having other options, and that Hadassah employs Arabs in every position and serves more than 4,000 Palestinians per year.

Pointing out that Arab and Jewish Israelis rarely mix socially, Clalit lawyers asked: Do Arab families feel "humiliated" because they live in Arab towns or cities?

Jews and Arabs in Israel don’t attend the same schools, go to the same youth movements and usually do not intermarry, they said. The lawsuit wishes to override the expressed wishes of patients to be among their own.      


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