Israel & Gaza: Amid conflict, Israels hospitals treat Gazan patients

Israeli hospitals are treating dozens of patients who came to Israel from Gaza to get health care unavailable there, and are making provisions for anyone accompanying them.

“We at Rambam Medical Center [in Haifa] are taking care of sick children and adults, and we are not looking at their religion or where they come from. At the moment, we have four [from Gaza] — a baby girl in the nephrology department, two children in oncology and an adult in urology,” Rambam director-general and professor Rafael Beyar said early this week.

“Family members accompanied them,” he added. “It’s absurd that we are doing this at the same time Israelis are being attacked, but there is no other way. We are used to it. We are very far from politics.”

Beyar said he was “extremely upset” when he learned that Arab students at the University of Haifa last week stood for a “moment of silence” when Ahmed Jabari, the military chief of Hamas, was killed by the IDF.

“I just can’t accept that,” he said.

Beyar said he had received no reports of any tension among Jewish and Arab personnel in his medical center. “We are used to working together to save lives.”

The Hadassah University Medical Center in the Jerusalem village of Ein Kerem said that in the past month it has hospitalized six Gazan patients.

Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer in central Israel said that it provides medical services to several dozen Palestinians each month, even during conflict. Most are children who are hospitalized for long periods or youngsters who underwent treatment and return periodically for follow-up, according to Sheba spokesman Amir Marom.

“Just two days ago, a 9-year-old girl from Gaza who was hurt in her palm was brought to Sheba,” Mazon said in the days after the escalation. “Her father is an Arab journalist who writes from Gaza for an Israeli newspaper. She was accompanied by her mother. An Israeli boy who was wounded by a Gazan rocket that fell in Kiryat Malachi last week is in the same room with a Gazan girl whose fingers were amputated due to injury. We regard our hospital as a bridge to peace.”

Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center said 50 patients, both children and adults, and their accompanying relatives from Gaza were in the hospital earlier this week. Most of them are cancer patients.

The relatives live in the hospital’s hotel, and there is a hospital employee who serves as a contact person and helps them.

Medical treatment for Gaza residents allowed into Israel is paid for by the Palestinian Authority or by other bodies, including the Peres Center for Peace.

Judy Siegel-Itzkovich is the health and science editor at the Jerusalem Post, where this piece first appeared. Reprinted with permission.