A rabbi sparked outrage recently after claiming that Arab medical staff want to “kill Jews,” with the Israel Medical Association calling on the government to strongly condemn the statements on Wednesday.
Rabbi Meir Shmueli made the claims in a video titled “Don’t employ the enemy in hospitals,” which was published on YouTube by Yeshivat Darchei David. The video was later deleted.
“Do you know how many Arab doctors, may their name be erased, are in the hospitals? They see a soldier, they cut off his hand, and they cut off his leg. They want to kill them. They kill every Jew,” said Shmueli. “I told the family not to leave the room…This is how they do it, these Arabs kill every day…They kill more people in hospitals than Hamas.”
Israel Medical Association calls on War Cabinet to condemn anti-Arab video
On Wednesday, Prof. Zion Hagay, the chairman of the Israel Medical Association, sent a letter concerning the video to the members of the War Cabinet, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz, and War Cabinet Minister Gadi Eisenkot.
“In the sensitive and tense days that Israeli society is going through due to the war that was imposed on us, there are those who want to take advantage of this time to ignite a war within us as well,” wrote Hagay.
“It is clear to anyone with common sense that the said words are not only intended to cast blame and incite against an entire public, but also to sow fear, chaos, undermine the public’s trust in the entire health system, and even provoke a real war between Jews and Arabs within the State of Israel.”
“If you take into account that the families of the sick and injured are already in a very emotional and unstable situation, then these defamatory words are like a burning match deliberately thrown into a gas tank,” added Hagay.
The chairman of the Israel Medical Association stressed that “the healthcare system has long been considered a beacon of coexistence and tolerance, where Jewish and Arab medical professionals work side by side from day to day and have one oath and one goal: saving lives.”
Hagay urged the members of the War Cabinet to “use your full weight to publicly disavow these slanderous words, and no less important – to give full support to the Arab medical professionals who work day and night to save lives. Such incitement must not become routine, not normally and certainly not in these tense days.”
Dr. Thabet Abu Rass and Amnon Be’eri-Sulitzeanu, co-executive directors of the Abraham Initiatives organization, which advocates for social inclusion and equal rights for the Arab sector, noted that 40% of the healthcare system is staffed by Arab citizens.
“This is an unprecedented success that was achieved with great effort and is a certificate of honor for the healthcare system and an important element in its success,” added the co-executive directors. “This is an asset that must be preserved, but statements of this type deeply undermine the integration of medical professionals in the health system, and may entail a heavy price for the functioning of the entire system.”
Attorney Eitay Mack sent a letter to Israel Police Chief Kobi Shabtai and Deputy State Attorney Alon Altman on Wednesday on behalf of the Tag Meir Forum requesting that a criminal investigation be opened against Shmueli for suspected incitement to violence against Arab medical staff, according to Maariv.
Altman stressed that “Shmueli’s words can only be understood as an urgent call to the public to attack or ‘neutralize’ Arab healthcare workers before they kill Jews.”
Ra’am MK Waleed Alhwashla questioned Health Minister Uriel Buso about Shmueli’s video as well, asking if anything was being done by the Health Ministry on the matter. He also filed a complaint with police about the video, posting on X that “Shmueli’s words endanger the lives of those who work day and night to save lives. I expect [Israel Police] to act quickly, arrest, and investigate the racist rabbi and not neglect the safety and security of the medical staff.”
On Wednesday evening, the police requested approval from the Prosecutor’s Office to open an investigation against Shmueli on charges of racist incitement.