In at least four Israeli hospitals, Arab women are separated from Jewish women in maternity wards, Haaretz newspaper reported.
In a report based on testimonies collected from the four hospitals, the paper said the segregation policy has become the norm, explaining that the hospitals segregate the mothers either at their request of because they deem it right.
According to the paper, the testimonies were collected from women who gave birth at the Hadassah University Hospital, Mt. Scopus in Jerusalem; Haemek in Afula; Nahariya’s Western Galilee Hospital in and Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba and who were victims of the segregation policy.
“We are trying to make separate rooms because the culture is really different and the visit hours,” the paper quoted a hospital nurse as saying during a recorded phone call. “We feel very strongly that there is one person, and there is a clan, We try, we can’t say 100 per cent, but on days that there’s no pressure, we arrange separate accommodations [for people speaking] different languages,” she added.
According to Haaretz, four Arab women filed a class demanding the hospitals end the policy and compensate those who were subjected to it, they believe the Ministry of Health is aware of the policy but turns a blind eye to it.
“The subject 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,” the reported quoted Professor Alon Klement, Israel’s most prominent class-action attorney and the clinic’s academic supervisor, saying.
It is estimated that 1.8 million Arabs live in Israel; 20 per cent of the population.