“Wherefore she said unto Abraham: ‘Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.'” Genesis 21:10 (The Israel Bible™)
Habayit Hayehudi MK Bezalel Smotrich has been embroiled most of last week in a scandal over his and his wife’s Tweets that said, essentially, that while most Israelis won’t admit it, they would much prefer to give birth in segregated maternity wards, where Jews and Arabs promulgate separately. It was then revealed that some Israeli hospitals actually maintain an unofficial practice of keeping the two ethnic groups apart during the miracle of birth. The reason, it turned out, had to do with the boisterous nature of the Arab birth procedure, which involves entire clans and all the aromatic food they brought in from home. In fact, some healthcare workers went out of their way to explain that the segregation was only in maternity wards, not in any other department, a claim whose veracity was supported by media reports.
On Friday, Channel 2’s Meet the Press ordered a poll to find out whether or not Smotrich aand his wife were right when they claimed most Israelis feel the same way they do but are too embarrassed to say so.
From the survey results it appears that only 34% of Israelis support segregating Jewish and Arab would-be-mothers, while a full 61% said they are against it. 5% said they didn’t know. Of course, it’s possible that at least some of those who said they were against the practice were too timid to be honest about their feelings…
Revital Smotrich, the MK’s wife, told Channel 10 that she did not want her baby’s first moments of life to be in the receiving hands of an Arab doctor. She said that in all her five births she insisted that the obstetrician not be an Arab man, both for being an Arab and for being a man.
The survey found that 82% of the respondents did not mind being treated by an Arab doctor, only 13% had an objection, and 5% still did not know.
However, the survey team stepped out of its boundaries just a little bit and asked the same respondents whether they mind living with Arab families in the same building. The numbers changed significantly, with 49% saying they are not prepared for this much liberalism, 42% saying they could live with it, and 9% who did not know.