Safed Mayor Calls on Israeli Hospitals to Share Responsibility for Treatment of Wounded Syrian Refugees (VIDEO)
The mayor of Safed in the northern Galilee wants the Israeli Health Ministry to stop sending wounded Syrians to cash-strapped hospitals in the periphery, and direct them instead to better-equipped facilities in central Israel.
“Up until now, treating the Syrians had been a spontaneous, ad-hoc, humanitarian, and emotional issue,” Ilan Shohat told The Algemeiner on Wednesday.
There are three hospitals in the north that have taken the brunt of treating the wounded, after they undergo triage at an IDF field hospital along the Syrian border in the Golan Heights.
“The Syrians came, homeless and helpless, throwing themselves on our mercy. Over a thousand were brought to Ziv Hospital [The Rebecca Seiff regional trauma center in Safed], to [coastal] Nahariya, to Poriya [in Tiberias]. Their absorption has impacted day to day operations in the Galilee, in Safed; Ziv took over 500 of them,” Shohat said.
Ziv is also currently running a 50 million shekel (over a $12.7 million) deficit, and, as a result, is operating on “emergency status,” he said.
While he considers “the absorption of the wounded Syrians a moral and Jewish obligation of the first degree … it’s unconscionable that this regularly takes place at the expense of the Galilee,” Shohat wrote in a letter issued on Wednesday to the Minister of Health, Prof. Arnon Afek, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – the interim minister responsible for health issues.
Shohat added that “we don’t have the doctors, the nurses, and the equipment beds, and sterilization facilities to cope; many arrive with epidemiological illnesses we’re not used to dealing with and have to be in isolation, and it disrupts normal operations.”
“Their hospitalization is complex and requires an investment of time, money and staff,” he said pointing out that, “whenever a Syrian arrives, he’s often in critical condition, which demands a shift in medical priorities throughout the Galilee.”
As well, the Syrians – particularly the adult males – require around-the-clock security, both for their safety and that of other patients. While they receive state-of-the-art medical care from Jewish and Arab Israeli staff at taxpayer expense, they come from a hostile country engaged in a brutal and bloody civil war.
Watch a CNN report from Ziv below: