The father of Oz Mendelovich, a Golani Brigade soldier who was killed this past summer while fighting in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge, could not believe his ears when he heard that the daughter of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh received emergency medical treatment at the Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv.
The father, Ofer Mendelovich, on Monday made his opinion of the hospital’s move known to its director, Professor Gabi Barabash. The contents of the conversation between the two was made public by Channel 2 News, which received permission to do so.
"I am a humanist," Mendelovich told Barabash, but also stressed that he was devastated when he heard of the treatment received by the daughter of "the one who sent the terrorists who killed 67 of our fighters, including my son."
"We can call this stupidity,” he continued. "It was equally possible to open the gates so they can go to Cyprus to receive treatment, but why at Ichilov? Come on, Professor Barabash, why are we so stupid? Will this cause Haniyeh to declare that he recognizes Israel and wants peace? It will not happen.”
Professor Barabash, who was moved by Mendelovich’s remarks, admitted that he used to be naïve and thought that if Israeli hospitals treated Palestinian Arabs, it would cause the other side to want to make peace. Now, however, “I lost my political naïveté,” said Barabash.
He added, however, "Today, the matter is entirely different and entirely practical. We receive something like 60-70 Gazans for treatment every day. We do not know in advance who is coming. I learned that she’s Haniyeh’s daughter only after she arrived. She is sent here like any other patient from Gaza - goes through the Erez Crossing and comes here. We charge the full fee for the treatment.”
Prof. Barabash added that he was not asked to decide whether to treat the daughter of a senior Hamas leader, saying, "It is an established fact. We treat all those who need treatment. I'm sure you agree with me. It was only the next day that we found out that she’s Haniyeh’s daughter. I think even you, despite your emotional baggage, would not send away a woman who needs treatment.”
Mendelovich agreed with Barabash, clarifying, "I do not have an instinct for revenge." He concluded, however, by saying, "I want to see Haniyeh getting up and thanking the doctors at Ichilov who saved his daughter."
The Ichilov Hospital, which confirmed on Sunday that Haniyeh’s daughter had been at the hospital, said that the daughter had been released over a week ago.
"Ismail Haniyeh's daughter was indeed hospitalized for medical treatment for several days at the hospital,” Ichilov said. “Over 1,000 patients from Gaza and the Palestinian Authority territories – both adults and children – are hospitalized for treatment at our hospital every year.”
The daughter is one of Haniyeh's 13 children. She reportedly received treatment for a week, after complications that occurred during a routine operation she underwent.
Hamas routinely and intentionally targets Israeli children with its bombs. One of the last victims of Hamas's rockets in the summer war with Israel was four-year-old Daniel Tragerman hy"d, of Nahal Oz.