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Hamas Sends Patients to Israel for Care

Hamas sends up to 100 patients a month to Ichilov hospital alone. Hospital treats patients from hostile Arab countries as well.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 7/8/2010, 10:32 PM

Israel news photo

Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv treats up to 100 patients a month from Gaza, and often Hamas takes the role of middleman between Gaza residents and the Israeli hospital, Ichilov Director Professor Gabi Barabash said Thursday. Barabash spoke to Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara, a resident of the Druze village of Dalyat El Carmel near Haifa, who was touring the hospital and viewing its care for foreign Arab patients.

In addition to caring for patients from Gaza, the Ichilov staff treats many citizens of foreign Arab countries, including those that have no diplomatic ties with Israel. They all receive dedicated care, and the relatives who accompany them are provided with free food and a place to stay, Barabash said.

Kara praised the hospital's care at the end of the tour. Ichilov treats all of its patients equally, he said, but it is not the only one, and hospitals throughout the country send hundreds of people home to Gaza in good health each month after they arrived in Israel suffering from serious ailments.

He condemned Hamas for benefiting from the arrangement while giving nothing in return. “The time has come for Hamas to give us something small in return,” he said, “to release a single son of ours, who has been held for four years with no medical care, in exchange for the hundreds of people whose lives Israel saves every month.”

Kara called on Arab countries to take action: “I call on those Arab countries that are aware of how much we give them when it comes to medicine to call for Gilad Shalit's release as well.” Shalit's release would “make the peace talks much more meaningful,” he added.