Newborn babies
Newborn babies Israel news photo: Flash 90

A surprising proportion of the population supports segregating Israeli Jews and Arabs in hospital maternity wards, a new poll reveals Monday. 

69% of respondents to a TACK poll on the subject viewed the idea as "legitimate"; just 31% believe the segregation is "illegitimate." 

90% of haredi and national-religious respondents supported the move, as did 74% of traditional or 'masorati' respondents and 54% of secular respondents. 

54% of respondents stated they would 'prefer' to be hospitalized postpartum with fellow Jewish women; 40% stated they had "no preference"; and just 6% preferred an integrated ward. 

TACK polled 501 Israelis for the study. 

Cultural dissonance?

The findings show a significant gap between the views of politicians and the public over the debacle, and surfaces amid a contentious media debate over segregation in maternity wards nationwide. 

The Ministry of Health says that it does not permit any discriminatory separation; this includes divisions based on religion, country of origin, ethnicity and more.

But after an explosive Reshet Bet study finding that just two hospitals in Israel refuse to segregate postpartum mothers if requested, Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich ignited a massive backlash - after he said separate rooms should be an option in every hospital, citing an Arab cultural phenomenon of holding noisy post-birth parties, as well as the possible emotional impact sharing wards could have on Israeli victims of Arab terrorism. 

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