Israeli hospitals deny treatment to African asylum seekers

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An Israeli hospital has been refusing to treat African asylum seekers under the premise that they are not insured, 972mag has reported on Monday.

According to a report in Maariv, a Hebrew language daily newspaper, Jerusalem’s Bikur Hospital has denied treatment to at least three Eritrean asylum seekers in the past week.

Nestah Ibrahim, a Eritrean woman who had come to Bikur Hospital after experiencing stomach pains, was turned away and told to go somewhere else after admitting she did not have money to pay for hospital fees.

Speaking to Maariv, Ibrahim said: “I tried to explain to them that I’m new here, that I don’t have status and rights but they weren’t convinced and they told me: 'Go to a different hospital'. I asked them to at least give me pills to make the pain go away but they did not agree to give them to me.”

Israeli doctors and the Ministry of Health criticized the move calling it “patient care apartheid” and "racist".

According to documentary maker and activist David Sheen Tel Aviv's main hospital, Ichilov, "instituted new regulations barring asylum-seekers from entering the hospital, unless they are about to undergo a medical procedure."

Early July, the Sourasky Medical Center, also in Tel Aviv, said it will "limit admissions of and ban visits by African asylum seekers" according to a report by Ynet quoted by 972mag.

Sourasky’s Director General, Gabi Barbash said the measure was to prevent the spread of infectious diseases to other patients after a number of African patients were diagnosed with tuberculosis.

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