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Injured Hamas terrorists no longer to be treated in Israeli public hospitals

They will be directed to IDF or prison service medical facilities

Illustrative - Wounded Israelis arrive at Soroka Medical center in Beer Sheva, southern Israel, October 7, 2023. (Photo: Dudu Greenspan/Flash90)

Israeli Health Minister Moshe Arbel informed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a letter on Wednesday evening that he had instructed public hospitals to cease admitting and treating Hamas terrorists who participated in Saturday’s massacre of Israeli civilians and soldiers on Israel's border with Gaza.

“Since the beginning of the war, the issue of treating the accursed Hamas terrorists in public hospitals has created great strain on the healthcare system,” Arbel wrote, adding that the focus should be on treating victims of the terrorist attacks and wounded soldiers.

The change in policy demonstrates Israel's change in attitude toward Gaza since the Hamas attack on innocent civilians in Israel. It is unprecedented for Israel to cut off electricity, water and food supplies to the area, as well as the calling up of some 360,000 reservists to assist in the current siege of the Gaza Strip.

Earlier in the day, chaos had broken out at Sheba Medical Center close to Tel Aviv, when Israelis showed up to protest what they believed was the medical treatment of a Hamas terrorist. One of the terrorists had, in fact, been brought in for treatment, but a spokesperson for the hospital said that he had not been accepted.

Another injured terrorist had arrived for treatment at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv on Wednesday but was refused and instead directed to the prison service’s medical facility in Ramle.

At the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikvah, a statement was issued that no terrorists were receiving treatment at the facility.  

“And we don’t expect to receive or treat any in the future,” the hospital stated.

The Hamas attack has brought a renewed discussion about the ethical dilemma of treating terrorists who have, until now, been treated in Israeli public hospitals.

According to The Jerusalem Post, at least two senior physicians and ethicists have argued that excluding terrorists who participated in the massacres from public hospitals in Israel is both ethical and necessary.

“Most Western democracies have an accepted policy that you treat the enemy medically like you treat your friends,” said Shimon Glick, a professor emeritus in Ben-Gurion University’s Faculty of Health Science.

“Once an enemy is wounded, sick or whatever, it is not the physician’s job to judge him. That is where courts, police, etc. come in,” Glick explained.

The unprecedented Hamas invasion and massacre, however, has changed everything.

“A terrible thing has happened, and everyone is appropriately uptight about it. From a psychological and practical point of view, these terrorists should not be treated at Israeli hospitals. They should be taken somewhere else,” Glick said.

“You have seen pictures of what happened this week. It is tough for a person, even a doctor, to say that they will not consider it when providing treatment,” Glick said.

“Imagine a situation that in one of the units, someone just wounded by a terrorist is right next to the terrorist who wounded him.”

The new policy does not mean that terrorists will not be treated at all, but that they will be directed to IDF or prison service medical facilities instead of Israel's public hospitals.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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