A firestorm of controversy erupted on Tuesday after Bayit Yehudi MK Bezalel Smotrich responded to an Israel Radio report by backing Jewish women who reportedly requested to be separated from Arab women in the maternity ward of some hospitals.
The radio reported on Tuesday that various hospitals around the country have been separating Jewish and Arab women in the maternity ward.
Smotrich tweeted a reaction to the report saying, “After giving birth, my wife wants to rest and not have a party like Arab women do after giving birth.”
In another tweet, he said, “It is natural that my wife would not want to lay down next to someone who just gave birth to a baby might want to murder her baby in another 20 years.”
Smotrich said that the alleged hostility of Jewish women who give birth toward Arab women is natural and understandable because of what he termed the blood feud between the two peoples.
He also told Israel Radio that the Arabs of Israel, although they have equal rights, traitorously are supporting our enemies that attack us.
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) blasted Smotrich on Facebook, saying the MK “does not care if people get a taste of racism.
A baby born is pure, he does not know hatred. He should get a hug, warmth and love from the first moments in the world. Not racism.
“We do not agree that hospitals should separate between Jews and Arabs in the maternity ward. We will not allow this despicable separation between people,” he said.
Joint List MK and Ta’al party chairman Ahmad Tibi shared with The Jerusalem Post a letter he wrote to Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman on Tuesday, 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.”
Zionist Union MK Zouheir Bahloul responded to Smotrich’s comments saying, “With such views, the road to hell is short.”
According to the Bayit Yehudi MK, he said, “every Arab is a potential terrorist, and at minimum, are not legitimate members of Israeli society.”
While the Health Ministry bans such moves, the report said the calls for separation in the obstetrics and gynecology department come at the request of the maternity patients, to which the hospitals then comply.
The medical centers where the issue occurs, according to the report, are: Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, Hadassah- University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem and on the capital’s Mount Scopus, along with Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv and Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba.
The report added that all of the hospitals denied any such division among patients.
However, some of the medical centers noted that if the patient makes such a request, it is taken into consideration, as are other appeals.
Among the hospitals surveyed, only Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba and Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center said that separation between patients in the maternity ward is not possible.
The Health Ministry reacted to the Israel Radio report of “segregation” of Jewish and Arab mothers in a number of hospitals, saying it “prohibits all separation as a result of discrimination. The ministry’s instructions are not to separate any types of populations, not according to religion, country of origin, communities or any other criteria.”
People with experience in a variety of hospitals note that mothers sometimes ask to be separated from “noisy” ethnic and Jewish religious groups that have large families who come to visit, which is a reason why some wards appear to segregate.
The Hadassah Medical Organization, whose medical center on Mount Scopus was mentioned as one of the hospitals where Jewish women allegedly request separate rooms, stated on Tuesday that both it and the Hadassah-University Medical Center’s Ein Kerem campus are “proud that they are symbols of coexistence in every department and unit, both in the human mix of the medical and nursing staff and patients.”
“The quality of medicine ...
attracts whole communities from different countries, from different cultural and religious backgrounds.
They are all welcomed by Hadassah with a hug and empathy, excellent medical care and wonderful hospitalization conditions,” the HMO said.
“As a result, Hadassah’s policy is to mix different groups, including mothers, and this is visible throughout the hospitals. The medical teams are, of course, attentive to the needs of patients and especially to new mothers, as it sees giving birth as not being a disease.
It ensures that the birth experience will be a wonderful thing.”
Meanwhile, Kfar Saba deputy mayor Ilai Harsegor Hendin sent a harsh letter to the city’s Meir Medical Center after it was reported that Arab and Jewish new mothers are being separated in the wards after they deliver. He said that such “segregation remind us of periods in history that we don’t want to return to, and there is no professional justification for separation on the basis of ethnic or religious background.”
He added that Meir is “a bridge among peoples who live in Israel.
One meets patients, families and staff of all backgrounds. The babies born in the obstetrics department don’t know if they are Arab or Jew; they are human beings who will grow up in a world that we have created for them. We will decide if it is one of racism, hatred or discrimination, or a world that is going to a better place.”