Knesset member Bezalel Smotrich of the Jewish Home party is calling for the segregation of Arab and Jewish mothers in maternity wards in Israeli hospitals. He insists that Israeli mothers should not have to have their babies next to Muslim babies “who might want to murder” them in 20 years. Media reported that Shaare Tsedek and Hadassah hospitals in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv’s Ichilov and the Meir hospital in Kfar Saba were all segregating patients.
Smotrich said “My wife is truly no racist, but after giving birth she wants to rest rather than have a hafla [a celebratory feast often accompanied by music and dancing] like the Arabs have after their births. It’s natural that my wife wouldn’t want to lie in bed next to a woman who just gave birth to a baby who might want to murder her baby 20 years from now.”
When confronted later by a radio interviewer, Smotrich doubled down and said “Arabs are my enemies and that’s why I don’t enjoy being next to them.”
The suggestion of a type of separate but equal doctrine for babies is disturbing on a variety of levels. Extremists on both sides seem intent on reinforcing barriers to prevent interactions between groups. Such segregation only serves to polarize the population but play to extremist parties.