19 arrested in large brawl at Soroka hospital in Beersheba

19 people have been arrested over a massive brawl which broke out at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba on Sunday.

Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba (photo credit: DR. AVISHAI TEICHER/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba

A mass brawl broke out on Sunday night between the Talalka and Alexasi families at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, during which gunfire was heard outside the gates of the hospital. Four were injured and required medical treatment, two were injured by stab wounds, and two were injured by hits. All the injured are in mild condition and were transferred for treatment. Order was restored to the area after about an hour.

Young people were seen throwing stones and hitting each other near a municipal security vehicle. Police working at the scene to restore order arrested 19 suspects and opened an investigation.

“We take the incident of violence in a hospital seriously, and the investigation will be serious as well,” said Tiran Yehud, commander of the Beersheba police station.

Sixteen suspects will be brought before the Magistrate’s Court in Beersheba for a hearing, with more arrests expected.

“We condemn and are concerned about this showing of severe violence that has taken place in the area of the medical center,” said Dr. Shlomi Kodesh, director of Soroka Medical Center. “This crosses a red line, and we demand that vigorous actions be taken to maintain peace in the hospital and for its staff.”

Beersheba Deputy Mayor Shimon Tuval said the situation “is madness. Not only did we lose Beersheba, we lost the whole country. Shots in a hospital are a red line that cannot be crossed.”

Pini Badash, head of the Omar local council, warned that “shooting in hospitals is the peak of the lack of governance in the Negev. We must recover, and fast.”

The Negev Rescue Committee stated, “Another line has been crossed in the framework of criminal terrorism. The residents of the city of Beersheba are hostage to terrorism that washes over Ben-Gurion’s vision. Shooting inside a humanitarian facility crosses a red line.”

On October 30, a mass brawl broke out in the area of the Hura local council in the Negev, against the background of a dispute over land in the council by members of the same clan. During the brawl, the participants, including children, were documented throwing stones at each other, and a tractor ran over the participants. Police arrested three suspects.

This is another incident of violence in Arab society and in the Negev in particular, in which many residents live in a sense of helplessness in light of the lack of governance.

Police arrested a 15-year-old boy in early October in the town of Hura where the fight took place. He had in his possession a Glock pistol and two magazines with bullets. This came after police were called to the town when they received reports of gunshots, and police officers who apprehended the boy on the spot searched him and brought him in for questioning.

MK Itamar Ben-Gvir is set to arrive at the hospital to examine the events and how the police were involved.

“We are dealing in an orderly manner with problems that we have already become accustomed to having nothing to do with, that are chronic, problems that are used to being pushed off,” said Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in response to the brawl. “We are working. We have started working. I am happy to say that Israel Police has started working with all its might. We are making a critical effort all over the country against the weapons. Now our task is not to take our foot off the gas, but to continue with all our might. Another operation and another operation. Keep pressing until the task is completed.”