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Following a string of serious attacks by Arab patients and families on hospital staff, the Israeli government approved a plan to station police at every hospital in the country.

Announcing the decision via a Tweet, Israeli Minister of Health Nitzan Horowitz said: “We must eradicate violence against medical teams quickly—and that’s exactly what we are doing. Zero tolerance for violence in hospitals.”

Source: Times of Israel (Courtesy Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital)

According to a tweet by Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday, the government will allocate 19 million shekels (nearly $5.7 million)  for setting up the police stands in all hospitals by the end of 2023. “We are returning security to the hospitals,” he said. “The latest events demonstrate to us that we cannot allow medical teams to work without protection.”

After two recent incidents of relatives bursting into the ICU, shattering doors and windows, and vandalizing computers and equipment at a nurses’ station before physically assaulting medical staff, hospital workers at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem had also gone on strike, demanding additional security. The demands laid out by the Israel Medical Association (IMA) ahead of the strike included police presence in emergency rooms, increased and improved security systems in hospitals and medical clinics, and changing legislation so that attacking a medical staff member would be treated the same as attacking a uniformed police officer.

Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar said in a statement, “The medical staff, who are at the forefront of protecting the health of all of us, should not face bullying and violence. A nurse who is involved in saving lives is not a police officer and should not be afraid of being attacked. As I promised, we will commission police positions within the hospitals, who will be able to respond in real-time to any violent incidents. The police will deal with law enforcement, and the doctors will deal with medicine.”

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Rhea Sovani

Author Rhea Sovani

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