Israeli Health System is Bright Spot for Coexistence



The Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) has released a report (PDF) on Israel’s health industry that serves as a beacon of hope for supporters of shared society in Israel. According to the report released earlier this month, 11 percent of Israeli doctors are Arab, one of the highest Arab representations in an Israeli industry.

The 126-page report, “Heroes of Health: Israel’s Healthcare System as a Model of Coexistence,” was meant to shine a light on something many Israelis know: When they are sick or injured, their nationality matters nothing to the health professionals attending to them.

“The happiest moments of my life have been when I have heard the cries of newborn babies, Jewish and Arab babies alike,” Izzeldin Abuelaish, a fertility doctor, told a Knesset conference this month to present the report by IRAC, an NIF grantee.

Palestinian citizens of Israel make up 20 percent of the population but only have a representation of about three percent in the high-tech, finance and information technology industries. In addition to the 11 percent they comprise among Israeli doctors, they make up 38 percent of pharmacists and 14 percent of nurses, according to the report.

“If only you could have been a fly on the wall during our morning rounds today and could have seen how a Jewish man, an Arab man, and an Arab woman in a hijab were sitting and discussing Jewish and Arab patients, during such a tense period, with an amazing spirit of fellowship,” Professor Jonathan Halevy, Director of Shareh Tzedek hospital in Jerusalem, says in the report. “I’ve never seen any tension among the staff that directly cares for the patients. And that’s something that I find hard to explain. I find it both wonderful and amazing.”

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April 2017