Educated by the details Mr. BDS

There has never been a better time to find a qualified, capable and willing medical doctor, lawyer or accountant if you need one in Israel. There is no shortage. As of March 30, 2018, there are 2,341 medical doctors, 16,291 lawyers and 19,101 chartered accountants registered in their professional associations and practicing. Perhaps you may also require an engineer, because there are 135 engineers per 10,000 people. All these professionals have qualified with at least one degree from one of Israel’s nine universities. They have all passed the professional entry exams to be licensed after work experience probation. They all speak Hebrew fluently and have also passed a proficiency test in English to move from their first year to second year of studies.

There are some unique characteristics of these medical doctors, lawyers, accountants and engineers. They are all also fluent in Arabic. They are all Muslims. They are all Israeli citizens, about 20.7% of Israel’s citizens are Muslims. They have all had their dreams come true to work in their chosen profession. No one has hindered them or stopped them because they believe in a religion different to that of most of the citizens of the country they live in. They have not faced discrimination because other Muslims are terrorists. No one has told them that they gained admittance to study for their degrees were because they have minority rights. Entry to tertiary education in Israel is based upon merit only. Equality and equity in and for education are one and the same as written in the law of The State of Israel and in practice.

It is possible to go into details by looking at medical doctors for example in the public sector. I spoke to The Galilee Medical Center General Director Dr. Masad Barhoum, who is not Jewish but is an Israeli citizen. He told me that his hospital is the largest Israeli government hospital in the Galilee region of north Israel. It has 69 departments and specialty units, with 700 registered beds and a staff of 2,200 and 300 volunteers, making it the largest employer in the region. In 2017, the medical center recorded 115,000 ER visits, 50,000 admissions, 14,000 surgical procedures, 5,500 births, 28,000 dialysis and 142,000 outpatient clinics visits. It is the frontline treatment center for Israel’s northern border with Lebanon and serves a demographically mixed population of 600,000 that makes up the Galilee’s mosaic of Jews, Moslems, Christians, Baha’i and Druze. Besides providing civilian care, the hospital is a treatment center for the Israel Defense Forces who to date have also brought over 1,600 Muslim patients for treatment from the civil war in Syria. He was in Brussels recently as a special guest of the Israeli delegations to the European Union and NATO to lecture on this later treatment

It is possible to go even further into details because there are also Muslim medical doctors who are not Israeli citizens and they work at Israeli hospitals. This information is not a surprise because there is a surplus of medical doctors in West Bank cities such as Bethlehem and Hebron. The local Muslim population in the West Bank have no need for additional medical treatment and medical doctors are facing unemployment. These medical doctors are world-wide recognized professionals and sought after. For example, Dr. Firas Eleyan who trained as an oncologist works at Israel’s Jerusalem Hadassah Hospital and has commuted there daily from the West Bank for the last eight years. Another example is Dr. Mohamed Said, 32, from Bethlehem whose expertise is in the treatment of malignant tumors.To be sure Israeli hospitals don’t segregate patients. Palestinian leaders and their families also receive free medical treatment in Israel that has included both the mother-in-law and daughter of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

The private sector is just as flourishing if not more so for Muslim professionals such as lawyers and accountants. Let us start with an assumption and then check. The assumption is that anywhere in the world it would be natural to expect a professional lawyer or accountant to develop his or her practice with clients from his or her local community. It could be assumed that confidence and trust is provided through common identity and are thus important elements for the man in the street when selecting a lawyer or accountant. So, it could be assumed that it would not be unusual for Muslim lawyers and accountants to work in cities which are Muslim to contract the most work. The majority of Israeli’s live in urban areas so what happens in the mixed cities such as Haifa 11% Muslim, or Akko, Ramla and Lod each having about 30% Muslims or the capital Jerusalem having 40% Muslims? I asked Muslim lawyer and notary Nidal Milawi in the mixed city of Akko. His response was the opposite of the assumption. He even employs translators, so he can represent the diverse range of those who seek his services based upon the quality he offers and not his religion.

Many more examples can be provided where they all turn to the same bottom line: Israeli University education. It would be a challenge, because it doesn’t exist, to find any citizen of the State of Israel who has been refused entry to study at an Israeli University because of religion, color, gender or any other diversity or minority reason. Israeli Universities accept students based on merit. They educate to make their students dreams come true. There are Muslim medical doctors, lawyers, accountants and engineers not because they are Muslim, but because primary and secondary Israel state provided education and their parents impart education to enable them to be accepted to University based on merit. Equality and equity in education is a law of the State of Israel and in practice.

About the Author
Dr Glen Segell is Fellow at the Ezri Center for Iran & Persian Gulf Studies, University of Haifa.
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