Israeli Hospital Treats All Israelis-Jew and Arab-Alike

The letter below was written by Mr. Stephen Flatow, esteemed secretary and treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the American Friends of Rabin Medical Center, in response to a New York Times article alleging that Palestinians were leaving Israeli hospitals and seeking healthcare elsewhere. The original New York Times article can be found here.

February 14, 2009 Letter Palestinians' Health Care

To the Editor: Re "Palestinians Stop Paying Israeli Hospitals for Gaza and West Bank Patients" (news article, Feb. 10):

The Palestinian Authority's decision to force the removal of Palestinian patients from Israeli hospitals is a sad one.

Israel's major hospital centers — among them, Rabin Medical Center, Hadassah Hospital and Soroka Medical Center — are on a par with the finest institutions in the United States and provide a quality of care and treatment not found in the West Bank, Egypt or Jordan. They are leaders in robotic surgery, cancer research and treatment, organ transplantation, stem cell research and therapies, and have become world renowned for trauma care.

How is it in the interest of Palestinians to be treated as medically second-class patients by depriving them of the best treatment?

If there is to be coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis, what better way to work toward that goal than through the trust created by the bond between doctor, nurse and patient? Given the chance to break down stereotypes held by Palestinians and Israelis about each other, why lose that opportunity?

Stephen M. Flatow West Orange, N.J., Feb. 10, 2009

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