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Standing Together activists in protest against Ashkelon hospital policy to ask Arab passangers off the bus.(Photo by: Courtesy)
Standing Together activists resist policy to ask Arabs off the bus
Activists in 'Standing Together' were forcefully removed from bus 18 by the Barzilai Medical Center security guards.
Activists in 'Standing Together' were forcefully removed from bus 18 by the Barzilai Medical Center security guards on Sunday, the movement said in a press release.

The route the bus takes brings it into the hospital and allegedly, hospital security has a policy of asking Arab passengers to step off the bus to be questioned before they are allowed to enter the hospital.

Ten activists, Arab and Jewish, refused to get off the bus and were removed by force.

"We will not accept a policy of discrimination and separation between Jews and Arabs," said Ghadir Hani, leadership member in Standing Together, "the removal of Arabs from the bus, a policy the hospital officials do not deny, is a wrong deed we should not accept as common practice in our society."

In an e-mail on behalf of CEO and General Director of the hospital Professor Chezy Levy to the Jerusalem Post the hospital's spokesperson said that while the bus service has been entering the hospital for the last year the security check is only undertaken if the passenger is not in possession of a blue [Israeli] ID.

"In case of a green ID, meaning the person is a resident of Gaza or the West Bank, the passenger is asked to leave the bus so that he or she might go through a security check including their luggage to ensure they are not carrying weapons or explosives," Levy wrote to the post.

Those who reside in Israel illegally, Palestinians or others, are not allowed to enter the hospital.

"To accuse the hospital of racism is brazen," he wrote, pointing out that the hospital takes in medical doctors from the West Bank who work in it alongside Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel.

He also wrote that the hospital accepts patients from Gaza, wounded Hamas terrorists, and was awarded by the International Red Cross for the medical attention it provided  Islamic Jihad activist Muhammad Allan when he was brought to the hospital in 2015 after losing conscious after a prolonged hunger strike. 

During the time Allan was in hospital clashes erupted in the city of Ashkelon between Jewish Israeli protesters who felt he should not be given medical care in Israel and Arab-Israelis who called for his release.   

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