11 staff members at the Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, including one doctor, have contracted tuberculosis, Channel 2 News reported on Tuesday. The infectious disease was discovered in routine tests the staff had undergone.
The report noted that the doctor who contracted the disease is one who regularly treats infiltrators from Africa. The hospital said in a statement that the infected staff members are being treated to ensure that the disease does not develop further.
The hospital also noted that the employees are continuing to work regularly and that there is no concern that patients or colleagues will be infected as well.
The incident occurred just one month after hospital director Prof. Gabi Barbash ordered to isolate pregnant women, infants and children from among the communities of the foreign workers and infiltrators and not allow visitors from these communities into the hospital.
These drastic measures were taken after it was discovered that an Eritrean baby, who was hospitalized in Ichilov’s intensive care unit, and her mother had been ill with tuberculosis. 100 children and parents had to be tested for fear of contracting the disease.
The hospital’s moves were met with criticism by Israel’s media, which claimed Ichilov was being racist by isolating foreign workers and infiltrators and ignored the concern for the well-being of others.
MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) said in response to the report, “This is the price that Israel pays for prettifying itself. The establishment is afraid of being accused of racism and would rather see doctors and citizens dying from diseases, but will not under any circumstances send infiltrators to separate hospitals.”
Israel recently launched an operation dubbed “Going Home”, which combines a police crackdown with financial incentives for illegal infiltrators who leave by choice. Interior Minister Eli Yishai has instructed the Department of Immigration and Population to begin repatriating illegal alien infiltrators from the Ivory Coast.
Official statistics released on July 28 showed that illegal infiltration into Israel through Sinai had plummeted sharply over two months.
The number of illegal immigrants who crossed the border up to that point in July was 244. In June, the number of infiltrators was 928. In May it was 2,031. This means the rate of infiltration has dropped by over 85% in two months.
Unlike previous months, all of the immigrants crossing the border illegally have been arrested and detained. Before the government changed its policy on infiltration, the infiltrators were escorted by the IDF from the border and then put on buses to Tel Aviv, where they were released.
However, Israel’s main problem remains the infiltrators from Eritrea and North Sudan, which make up the bulk of the infiltrators.
The UN Human Rights Council recently said that Eritrea was among the worst human rights offenders in Africa, with as many as 10,000 political prisoners held in prisons. In the wake of the comments, officials in Israel have admitted that the country would have a much harder time repatriating Eritreans.