Amid wave of violence against medical staff, Sa'ar drafts fresh bill

Gideon Sa'ar's bill was drafted the morning three east Jerusalem residents were arrested for attacking security guards at Hadassah-University Medical Center.

 leader of the New Hope party Gideon Saar seen with party supporters during a New Hope party conference in Modi'in, December 5, 2021 (photo credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90)
leader of the New Hope party Gideon Saar seen with party supporters during a New Hope party conference in Modi'in, December 5, 2021
(photo credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90)

An early draft of a bill calling for harsher sentencing against perpetrators of attacks on Israeli medical professionals was published on Friday by Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar.

According to Sa'ar proposed bill, attacking medical staff while they are providing medical care can result in imprisonment of up to five years. In contrast, the law today states that an appropriate ruling for a similar crime is up to three years in prison.

The justice minister's bill will apply to any medical professional, including paramedics of volunteer organizations such as Magen David Adom (MDA) and ZAKA. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid vowed to support Sa'ar's bill along with the rest of his Yesh Atid faction in a Friday tweet. "We will do everything to ensure it passes, and quickly," he wrote.

The New Hope party leader's bill was drafted the morning three east Jerusalem residents were arrested for attacking security guards at Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem, Walla reported.

The three, who were visiting a hospitalized family member, were heard threatening the guards' life, claiming they "sat in Jail and can hurt [the guards.]"

 View of the Hadassah hospital in Mount Scopus in Jerusalem on March 15, 2017.  (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) View of the Hadassah hospital in Mount Scopus in Jerusalem on March 15, 2017. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

The suspects arrested reportedly deny the allegations made against them, instead claiming they were defusing an altercation between the guards and others who were in the hospital at the time.

Jerusalem's Magistrate Court ordered their release from custody under restrictions.  

Israel's hospital violence problem

This is the second case of violence against medical professionals in the Jerusalem hospital in as many weeks.

Earlier in May, a man in his 20s was arrested at the medical center for attacking staff and destroying hospital property. Initial investigation revealed that a relative of the suspect had passed away in the hospital from an overdose, and when the family was notified of his passing, they began rioting, attacking medical staff and destroying equipment.

Another attack on medical staff came two days later when dozens of family members of a deceased motorcyclist forcibly burst into the trauma center at Galilee Medical Center and beat security personnel. Following the recent string of attacks on medical staff, a day-long hospital strike was observed last week by the staff of the Galilee Medical Center and Hadassah-University Medical Center.

Our security guards were severely attacked and their attackers received a ridiculous sentence of probation and a petty fine. Unfortunately, there is no deterrent"

Witnesses at Galilee Medical Center to N12, May 19

However, perhaps the most unconventional incident of violence in medical centers came at Mazor psychiatric hospital in Acre, northern Israel.

Earlier in May, an Israeli woman claimed she was carrying an explosive device and threatened to commit a terror attack after she was refused entry to the hospital.

Israel Police quickly responded and detained the suspect. However, she was found to have falsely claimed she was carrying an explosive device.