Israeli Lawmaker: My Wife Wouldn't Want to Give Birth Next to an Arab Woman

Habayit Hayehudi politician MK Bezalel Smotrich justifies segregation in maternity wards, says he doesn't want his wife lying next to a woman whose baby will murder his child in another 20 years.

Bezalel Smotrich.
Olivier Fittousi

MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) enraged politicians on both sides of the aisle after justifying segregating Arab and Jewish mothers in hospitals on Tuesday.

"It's only natural my wife would not want to lie next to someone who just gave birth to a baby that might murder her baby in another 20 years," he tweeted.

Smotrich, who helped organize the anti-gay "Beast Parade" in 2006 and claimed that the Duma murder was not an act of terrorism, was responding to a Reshet Bet radio report on Tuesday about various Israeli hospitals segregating Arab and Jewish mothers in their maternity wards.

According to the report, Shaarei Zedek, Hadassah Ein Karem and Hadassah Mt. Scopus in Jerusalem, as well as Tel Aviv's Ichilov and Kfar Sava's Meir all engage in such segregation. According to its investigation, all the hospitals denied such a policy but in some of them noted that they do accommodate mothers' requests for separate rooming. The reporter said that sometimes the separation is made upon request but sometimes as a matter of routine. Only Soroka in Be'er Sheva and Rambam in Haifa told the investigative reporters that segregation is out of the question.

"My wife is really no racist, but after giving birth she wants rest and not the mass feasts that are common among Arab mothers who give birth," he tweeted.

Several Knesset members across the political spectrum expressed disapproval of Smotrich's tweets.

Naftali Bennett, the chairman of Habayit Hayehudi, quickly responded on Twitter by quoting Ethics of the Fathers 3:14: "Beloved is man, for he was created in the image [of Gd]," adding "Jew or Arab."

Smotrich did not back down, answering Bennett: "Very true, on condition that he is not an enemy that wants to destroy me. Then he does not respect his image and he is really not beloved to me."

MK Zouheir Bahloul (Zionist Union) commented, "With such opinions, the way to hell is short." He asserted that Smotrich thinks that "all Arab men and women are potential terrorists and that at the very least they are not legitimate members of Israeli society."