Smotrich and Segregated Maternity Wards Are a Sign of Madness With No Cure

MK Bezalel Smotrich is interested in a nationality-based segregation, from crib to grave.

MK Bezalel Smotrich.
Olivieh Fitoussi

Knesset member and father of five Bezalel Smotrich fantasizes about murderous babies in order to justify why, in his opinion, hospitals should violate the Hippocratic Oath and segregate between Jewish and Arab women giving birth. A baby just born to an Arab woman, he wrote, could one day murder the baby of the Jewish woman lying next to her. Smotrich sounded like Jeb Bush, who, when asked last November, while still a presidential contender, if he’d go back in time and kill the baby Hitler, answered: “Oh, yeah!” Smotrich can’t distinguish between a newborn baby and the actions of an adult, between incitement and thoughtfulness, between a hypothesis and morality.

Smotrich has no interest in the issue of visiting relatives in maternity wards. Neither he nor his wife, who said in an interview that she wouldn’t want an Arab doctor to touch her baby, believe that new mothers who are also Arab would enjoy resting peacefully after giving birth.

Smotrich is interested in something quite different: a nationality-based segregation, from crib to grave. “You must carefully protect human lives, starting at the womb” wrote Prof. Lipman Halpern in 1952, formulating an oath every Israeli doctor takes on completing his or her studies. “His wellbeing must be your foremost concern at all times. You must help the sick whoever they are, whether foreign or alien, whether lowly or elevated citizens.”

Halpern, basing himself on the Hippocratic Oath (“do no harm, protect a patient’s privacy, save life and maintain integrity) did not mean Arab when using the term “lowly.”

But Smotrich doesn’t believe in universal values, not even Jewish moral ones quoted by Halpern as he converted the oath to its Hebrew version. There is only an incessant striving for racial segregation. And as everyone knows, whoever separates Arabs in hospitals will end up separating between Jews as well.

Why should we complain about Smotrich? Eleven minutes passed between the immobilization of the Palestinian assailant in Hebron and the time “the son of us all” shot a dying man in the head, a man waiting for the saving grace of a doctor. While watching the video showing this assassination, we’ve turned from being citizens in a law-abiding state, free and protected from wilful acts, into subjects of a state in which “every man does what is right in his own eyes.” This makes the crude remarks by Smotrich regarding maternity wards not just the words of a racist trying to get rid of other citizens lest they give birth in proximity to his own, but a sign of madness. This is a sign of madness that is spreading without, it appears, any cure.