Nothing is more
guaranteed to raise the ire of Zionists than to tell them that Israel is an
Apartheid state. After all, they say, Arabs have the vote. Which is true except that in Israel politics
are ethnically not class based. Arab parties are therefore always in the minority. Class
politics are almost absent from both the Knesset and Israeli society, subsumed
by Jewish supremacy, segregation and Zionist chauvinism.
key test of any Apartheid society is the question of segregation. In the Deep
South of the USA and South Africa this meant signs saying ‘No Blacks or
Coloreds’. In Israel segregation is far more subtle. There are for example no
signs in schools saying No Arabs yet Israel’s schools are completely segregated
between Jew and Arab (except for a handful of private ones). Likewise Jewish towns
exclude Arabs as do social clubs and facilities. Again there are no signs.
Israel’s hospitals there are no signs saying that Jewish and Arab women are
segregated when giving birth but that is the situation.
issue came to the fore a few years ago when Bezalel Smotrich MK, a Deputy
Speaker of Israel’s Knesset and member of the far-Right Habayit Hayehudi called for Jewish and Arab women giving
birth to be segregated remarking
that “it’s only natural that my wife
would not want to lie next to a woman giving birth to a baby who would want to
slaughter her baby 20 years from now.” There were the usual
hypocritical denunciations of this from both the Zionist left and right.
that “The very first moment a baby
comes out to this world is a holy moment, a pure moment, a Jewish moment.” According to a radio
hospitals refuse to participate in segregation: the Rambam hospital in Haifa
and Soroka hospital in Beersheba. At least five hospitals nationwide engage in
the practice, the radio reported, though the hospitals denied that segregation
was a matter of policy. Officials at some said they would consider it if
mothers requested it.
Below are articles in Ha’aretz and
+972 Magazine describing this practice. But remember, if you hold an Israel Apartheid
week at a British university you will be accused of anti-Semitism under the International
Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism. People like Emily
Thornberry will call for the expulsion from the Labour Party of anyone who
opposes the Jewish Apartheid nature of the Israeli state and Ken
Livingstone has been forced to resign from the Labour Party for telling
the truth about the history of the vile racist movement that goes by the name
“What we see here is a debate about a superior
race, racial purity and holiness. About an inferior race that could contaminate
the upper race. About a living space uncontaminated by the enemy. About babies
who will grow up to be deadly enemies, because they belong to a race of
enemies. This is a Nazi way of thinking. There are no other words to put
is fortunate that Misgav wasn’t a member of the Labour Party because that detestable racist, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry
would be calling for his expulsion.
After all under the fake IHRA definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ comparing
anything in Israel to the Nazis is ‘anti-Semitic’!
A maternity ward in Israel with an Arab and Jewish nurse in the background. (Seth J. Frantzman)
New evidence from four Israeli hospitals indicates
that maternity wards place Jewish and Arab women in separate rooms on their own
initiative, not only at the expectant mothers’ request.
arrange this automatically,” a representative of Haemek Hospital in Afula
told a pregnant woman who inquired about the hospital’s policy in a
conversation that she recorded.
“We try to
arrange separate rooms because the culture and visiting times are really
different,” said a nurse in the hospital. “You feel very intensely that there’s one person and there’s a clan. We
try, we can’t say 100 percent, but on days that there’s no pressure, we arrange
separate accommodations [for people speaking] different languages.”
This and other recordings are part of the
testimonies of four Arab women who gave birth and were roomed separately from
Jewish women at Hadassah University Hospital, Mt. Scopus in Jerusalem; Haemek
in Afula; Nahariya’s Western Galilee Hospital in and Soroka Medical Center in
Be’er Sheva. The women filed a class action Wednesday against the long-standing
practice, which they call discriminatory.
More than a decade after the practice was exposed
in a number of investigative reports, causing a public storm, Arab women say it
has not ended and that the Health Ministry continues to turn a blind eye. In
the class-action, filed by lawyers Nadav Miara and Gil Ron of Gil Ron Kenan
& Co., in cooperation with the Class Action Clinic of the Tel Aviv
University law school, the four are demanding that hospitals prohibit such
segregation and pay significant compensation to anyone offended by the policy,
in the hope that hitting hospitals in their pockets will finally lead to
of segregation in maternity wards has been in the headlines for a long time; it
was in the Knesset, it was in the press, it’s not something new,” said
Prof. Alon Klement, Israel’s most prominent class-action attorney and the
clinic’s academic supervisor.
“The Class Action Clinic spoke with dozens of women to determination the
extent of this segregation. Our research showed that things haven’t changed
sufficiently, and there is still blatant segregation in the hospitals. We spoke
to women who were made to feel terrible by the experience. The four plaintiffs
signed on the suit were willing to stand up and represent an entire group
because it is so important to them,” Klement said.
He estimates that thousands of Arab women have been
segregated from Jewish ones in this fashion over the past seven years (earlier
cases are subject to a statute of limitations).
Rana (a pseudonym), a social worker who lives in
Jerusalem, had her three children at Hadassah on Mount Scopus. She became aware
of the separation policy in 2009, when she gave birth to her second daughter.
“After the birth I
was transferred to the maternity ward and was hospitalized in a room with two
other Arab mothers,” she recalls in her
affidavit. “When one of my roommates was
discharged, an Arab woman replaced her, which aroused my suspicions. As I
looked through the rooms on the ward, I saw the segregation — Arab mothers were
placed separately, not with Jewish mothers.”
When Rana wrote a complaint letter, a nurse came to
her room and explained that the separation was done out of “social sensitivity” and was also in the
best interests of the Arab women. “I was
not convinced,” wrote Rana. “I felt
that this was an excuse for racial segregation.”
In the winter of 2017, Rana returned to Hadassah to
give birth to her third child. “This time
I was also in a room with only Arab women,” she wrote. Each Arab woman who
was discharged was replaced by another Arab woman. “I felt humiliated, I was offended,” she concluded.
Two years ago, an investigative report by Israel
Radio brought testimonies of segregation at Hadassah and other hospitals. That
was when MK Bezalel Smotrich raised a storm when he commented, “My wife is really no racist, but after
giving birth she wants rest and not the mass feasts that are common among Arab
mothers who give birth.” He added fuel to the fire later when he tweeted, “It’s only natural my wife would not want to
lie next to someone who just gave birth to a baby that might murder her baby in
another 20 years.”
That this segregation continues as a matter of policy
was made clear in the research done for the class action, in which women phoned
various hospitals and asked about the separation of Arabs and Jews in calls
that were recorded. Women also asked these questions during tours of the
hospitals. All the hospitals responded that the separation was arranged without
anyone needing to ask.
Testimony to this policy at Soroka came not just
from Arab women who gave birth there and researchers who inquired, but from
Naomi, a Jewish teacher from an area kibbutz who had her three children there.
When she gave birth there last month, she was put in a room with another Jewish
woman. When that mother was discharged the following morning, she was replaced
by an Arab woman.
afterward a nurse came over and apologized,” Naomi wrote in her affidavit.
“I didn’t understand
what the apology was for. The nurse, who was careful to whisper, answered that
it was because they’d put ‘her,’ the Arab woman, in the room. She said the
department staff did not usually do that and that I had the right to ask to
move to another room. The nurse added that the department staff always tried
not to put Arab and Jewish women in the same room, but this time there was no
choice because this was last available bed in the ward.”
“I was shocked and
embarrassed. The whole conversation took place with my roommate lying next to
me with only a curtain separating us. I knew she spoke Hebrew and I explained
to the nurse that there was no reason for the Arab woman to disturb me. We are
all brothers and we are all equal.”
When Hana (a pseudonym) had her fourth child at
Haemek Hospital in the summer of 2016, she was put in an Arab-only room, as had
been the case after the three previous births. This time she asked if she could
be moved to a larger room. “My request
was accepted, apparently because I’d had a difficult birth,” she wrote in
“I got to the room
with my husband during the night. The Jewish mother who was in the room heard
us speaking Arabic and ran out of the room, demanding in a loud voice not to be
in a room with an Arab mother. Unfortunately, this request was accepted. Within
a short time, The Jewish woman was moved to a different room. After that only
Arab mothers were put in my room. I felt humiliated and offended even more than
the other times. I felt like they were treating me like a person from an
Of the four hospitals being sued, only Western
Galilee Hospital, in Nahariya, is government-owned. Dunya (a pseudonym) gave
birth there in 2011 and in 2014 and both times had to remain in the hospital
for more than a week after the delivery. “Both
times, throughout my hospitalization, not one Jewish mother was put in the room
with me. Women came and went, but all of them were Arabs,” she said.
Nothing has changed since then. Women who called
the hospital and recorded the conversations were told the segregation policy
was still in effect. “How do you divide
the rooms?” asked one woman inquiring about giving birth in the hospital. “Well if you’re asking, there is separation,”
said the hospital representative. “If you
mean Jewish-Arab, then we don’t put [them] together.”
Then-Health Ministry Director General Roni Gamzu
refused to issue written instructions barring such segregation. “I do not intend to issue a circular on this
issue. It will be disgraceful and probably do more harm than good,” he
wrote to Physicians for Human Rights in 2013. A State comptroller’s report
issued last year criticized the Health Ministry for not investigating the
issue. In its response to the comptroller, the ministry said that since there
hadn’t been any official complaints, “As
far as we’re concerned it’s not a phenomenon.”
In 2016, Health Ministry Director General Moshe Bar
Siman Tov summoned hospital directors to a meeting on this issue. The hospital
directors denied there was an official policy on segregating by religion or
nationality. They claimed that if it was happening, it was done at the mothers’
requests out of a desire to please them. They explained that the hospitals
compete fiercely for births because they get 13,000 shekels (around $3,600)
from the National Insurance institute for each birth and thus seek to satisfy
For this report the Health Ministry responded, “The suit has not yet been received, and
when it is received it will be studied and we will respond in court, as is
An investigative report
finds that numerous Israeli hospitals are openly implementing segregation. But
journalists have exposed the phenomenon for at least a decade and nobody seems
willing to do anything about it.
Despite years of denials and regulators vowing to tackle the problem, a
number of major Israeli hospitals continue to segregate Jewish and Arab mothers
in maternity wards across the country, according to an investigation published
Tuesday by public radio broadcaster Israel Radio.
The segment on Israel Radio included recorded conversations with three
separate hospitals in which a Jewish reporter posed as an expectant mother
shopping around for a maternity ward.
The reporter asked a maternity nurse in each hospital whether after
giving birth she could avoid being placed in the same room as a non-Jewish
(read: Palestinian) woman.
“That’s not a problem, we always do
answered a maternity nurse at the Mt. Scopus campus of Jerusalem’s Hadassah
‘Is that an official policy of the
The reporter followed up.
“Of course,” the nurse responded. “Especially in the maternity ward… we always
try to arrange separate rooms.”
Another hospital, Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba, told the reporter
that it couldn’t guarantee a segregated room but that the maternity staff
always tries to keep Jews and Arabs separate. “We try not to mix,” even when patients don’t request it, a
representative was recorded as saying.
Two hospitals, Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheva and Rambam in Haifa,
were found to not practice segregation in maternity wards.
The phenomenon of segregating Jewish and Palestinian women in Israeli
hospitals is far from new, and it has been reported by major media outlets for
at least the past decade.
A 2006 article
in Haaretz highlighted the practice in two hospitals in northern
Israel. One of the hospitals defended the policy at the time citing “differences in mentality” among Jewish
and Palestinian patients.
Six years later, in 2012, the Ma’ariv daily newspaper did an
undercover investigation in which it found identical
results at some of the exact same hospitals that Israel Radio exposed as
implementing segregation. “We try to not
put Arabs in the same rooms [as Jewish women],” a Ma’ariv reporter
was told in the maternity ward of Kfar Saba’s Meir Medical Center at the time.
All of the exposés on the phenomenon over the past decade included
statements from hospital administrators and even Ministry of Health officials
rejecting any policies or practices of segregation in the provision of health
services, specifically in maternity wards. The Knesset has even held parliamentary hearings into the matter over the years.
And yet the practice continues. Nobody seems to be willing or able to
put an end to it.
And even in the Israeli health system segregation does not only take
place along Jewish-Arab divides. In 2012 the Health Ministry ordered
hospitals across the country to put African asylum seekers into isolation.
That was after Tel Aviv’s Sourasky Medical Center was found to be implementing purely
racist isolation policies.
MK Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home), a member of the ruling
coalition, tweeted out a
particularly racist diatribe in defense of the maternity ward segregation on
After claiming that Arab families are louder than Jewish families after
giving birth, the hyper-nationalist and admittedly homophobic lawmaker added: “it is natural for my wife to not want to
lie next to somebody who just gave birth to a baby that might want to murder
her baby in 20 years. That’s the most natural, normal thing in the world.”
Anti-racism group Tag Meir, a group usually demonstrates on-the-ground
opposition to Jewish settler violence, announced on Tuesday that it was
planning a direct action in response to the report on segregation in maternity
The group was calling
on activists to come hand out flowers to both Arab and Jewish women in the
maternity ward of the Mt. Scopus campus of Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem on
Wednesday. Activists held a similar action following a notoriously
racist and Islamophobic annual march through Muslim neighborhoods of the
Old City of Jerusalem last year.