Daily Israel Report

Op-Ed: Healing the Enemy: An Israeli Doctor’s Lament

Righteousness or folly?
Published: Thursday, July 03, 2014 6:52 AM



 For years, ever since I was hospitalized in Haifa, I’ve been waiting for a headline quite like this: “Surgeon Says He’s Tired of Treating Palestinians.”
 
The article, written by Hezki Ezra and Gil Ronen, appeared above the fold on Arutz Sheva, June 26, which is to say that it was written and published at the height of Israel’s anguish over the three Yeshiva kids who’d been abducted -- and murdered -- by Palestinian Arabs.
 
We hear an Israeli heart surgeon, Dr. David Mishali, lament that he is tired of being merciful to the wicked. More from this article at the conclusion.
 
I said Haifa…
 
Something snapped during a rescue at sea. I tried to take a step and the answer was quick. My bad knee had locked at the kneecap. Shlomo somehow got me over to the medical center next door, Rambam Hospital, famed as the most advanced hospital anywhere in the world – which I did not know at the time.
 
It was a hospital, period. Not so. In Israel nothing is so simple. In ER, Shlomo explained that I was an American volunteer, a wink to suggest that he would appreciate some extra attention for his buddy. I was quickly wheeled to a room and there I sat waiting with a dozen other patients.
 
Most of the language was Arabic. A doctor came. I asked how many of his patients were Arabs in this Jewish hospital.
 
“More than a few,” he said casually.
 
He said he’d be back with some medication for the swelling. Meantime he tended to the others. I was special. But so was everybody else.  
 
I understood. I understood that his duty as a doctor and as a Jew commanded him to treat all people alike. But this was happening squarely in the middle of yet another Intifada. Many of these patients may well have been Palestinian Arab terrorists, including the patient in the next bed.  
 
Have no doubt that the Arab mobs rioting in Jerusalem this very day will likewise be welcomed at Hadassah Medical Center.
 
Do not ask me to explain. From the start we were commanded to be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
 
But I am confounded as to whether we are a righteous people or a foolish people for providing aid and comfort to the enemy.
 
Recall that as Israel was weathering the distress of its three kidnapped sons, the PA’s Mahmoud Abbas’ ailing wife was being healed at an Israeli clinic. The head of equally murderous Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh also took medical refuge in Israel for the sake of his mother-in-law.
 
The gratitude? Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel came back murdered.
 
So is this righteousness on Israel’s part, or is this folly?
 
Let Dr. Mishali give his side from the Arutz Sheva dispatch of June 26:
 
“David Mishali, was interviewed on TV Channel 10 along with his wife, journalist Yael Mishali, who expressed their feelings of frustration following the abduction of three yeshiva boys – two of whom study alongside their son at Mekor Haim yeshiva high school.
 
“Dr. Mishali, an expert on heart defects, told the television reporter that he has been operating on patients of all nationalities for decades and it never mattered to him where the patient was from. But after the abduction, he said, he no longer feels the same way.
 
“’I'm tired of being the bleeding heart who helps the needy,’” he said. “’It's hypocritical,’” he added, and said that instead of his usual joy at work, he currently feels depressed there.”
 
Jack Engelhard writes a regular column for Arutz Sheva. Engelhard wrote the int’l bestseller Indecent Proposal that was translated into more than 22 languages and turned into a Paramount motion picture starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. New from the novelist, the anti-BDS thriller Compulsive. Website: www.jackengelhard.com