Controversial news have been buzzing recently about the not-so-newest, but certainly on-the-news revelations that according to the recent survey at least 40% of Jewish Israeli women opt to be in a Jewish-only delivery ward. The survey was conducted following the uneasy feeling that was left by the comment of the Israeli MP Betzalel Smotrich, who said that “it is natural that [his] wife would not want to lie next to someone whose baby son may want to murder [his] son”. The wife reportedly confessed that “it’s not pleasant for [her] to lie next to Arab women”.
As one even with a smidgen of imagination can conclude, the case has been rapidly picked up by pro-Palestinian organisations, as to prove without any shadow of a doubt that Israel is an apartheid state, which separates the nation into two camps.
If one decides to look at the statistics from the perspective of alleged social apartheid then indeed the case could float awhile. Israeli Jews don’t want to deliver their babies in the vicinity of Arab women. They specifically ask for Jewish-only wards citing comfort of the surroundings and familiarity with other women.
Yet, why should Israeli Jews want that separation? What is wrong with being at the same ward with Arab women? Aren’t all people the same? After all, both Jewish and Arab women give birth; what’s so special about Israeli Jewish women? Why is the law supporting that separation?
Well, it would make sense to argue the case this way, if indeed there was such a law, which would lawfully separate Jewish and Arab women into separate wards. There is none. By law everyone can pretty much do whatever they want. Israelis aren’t, as one quickly finds out by living in Israel, too obsessed with privacy so communal wards seem to be the trend, where the entire families are visiting, congratulating and feeding the freshly-baked mother. By law, the choice lays in the hands of the hospitals.
The hospitals, on the other hand, are pretty much businesses as any other. They cater for the needs of the patients. You want a private room? Sure. You want a Jewish-only ward? Sure. You want an Arab-only ward? No problem. You want a mixed ward? Sure, that can be also arranged.
It’s important to keep in mind that there are no regulations whatsoever that would forcefully separate Jewish and Arab women.
The middle-Eastern mentality is very much that of a flock. We like to stick together. On all big occasions you end up having the entire community or even a village wanting to see how you are doing and wish you mazal tov. The case, in this situation, is equally the same for the Jews and the Arabs. The Jewish women receive their families as well as the Arab women receive theirs. The ward sort of resembles a bee-hive.
Now, please note, I have not given birth to children, so I don’t know how emotional the transition can be and what kind of a hormonal war is taking place in a body of a woman that has. I can however imagine that this is the moment that one wants to feel mostly at ease, comfortable, surrounded by people that they fully trust and are from the same tribe, eat the same food, speak the same language and even possibly are neighbours.
Furthermore, being separated into two wards doesn’t affect the level of medical care that both groups receive. On the contrary, it’s been proven on ongoing basis that the medical care that Arabs receive in the State of Israel doesn’t differ from that provided to the Jews. The matter has been only controversial in the case of terrorists, who somehow, against the odds, having survived their own attack on the Israeli Jews, have been receiving excellent medical care and often, due to the wounds sustained from the bomb attacks, have been attended to first, even before their victims.
I doubt that at the moment of giving birth, in order to maintain the image of a non-apartheid Israeli state, one should have to suffer being in the ward surrounded by people out of whom a percentage has been continuously involved in terrorist attacks. There is a natural level of fear in a regular human being. In addition, Israeli Jews have been attacked by terrorists who were not only men, but also women and children, who carried concealed, home-made yet still deadly weapons. It’s really hardly surprising therefore, that Israeli Jewish women opt out from sharing wards with Arab women.
It is important to note that around 60% of surveyed Israelis, mostly Jewish, objected to legal separation at the ward. It is very much understood that to have a personal choice and introduce a regulation to separate Jewish and Arab women are two different things.
The only people that are having a problem with the separation are those whose immediate business does not involve being in the maternity ward. Who has a problem with it, then? Well, BDS, for example, but they have a problem with everything that Israel does or doesn’t do. There is no way to please them however hard one might try. Pro-Palestinian political organisations of all colours point out the Israeli apartheid and would ideally force the situation on those women that at the time of giving birth actually prefer the current solution.
So how about everyone closes their mouths politely and allows the women living in Israel give birth in whichever manner they choose. I am sure the experience is sufficiently painful and stressful without involving politics.