What It’s All About

It’s midnight and I just got back from performing an emergency operation on a two week old Arab baby born three months premature with perforated intestines. I work at a hospital in the north of Israel and at least half of my patients, as well as my surgical team, are Arab so this wasn’t out of the ordinary. The surgical team tonight consisted of myself, an orthodox Jew, my assistant, a muslim, and a christian scrub nurse. The most impressive member of the team was Shirli*, the anesthesiologist. When she is not working in our hospital, Shirli is part of the elite Israeli search and rescue unit, which means in addition to being a better doctor than me, she could most likely kick my ass with one hand tied behind her back. Shirli has been in and out of Gaza multiple times over the last eight months helping to treat and evacuate our wonderful Israeli soldiers. In fact I didn’t actually meet her until February. I can only imagine the terrible things she has seen.

At the end of the case, she rubbed our patients face gently and she said to herself “what a cute, sweet baby you are”. She didn’t think anyone was listening but I was. I couldn’t help but contrast this with the news this week that several of our hostages were being held by Palestinian “civilians” including doctors. Shirli cared for this baby as well and as carefully as any doctor could. She didn’t not treat this baby because he was an Arab, she treated him because he was a cute little baby who was critically ill and that needed her help. And that, for me, says it all. If you think there is no difference between us and them than you really don’t understand Israel or the Jewish people. Think about that whenever you hear someone accuse Israel of committing genocide or being racist. Think about that when we are accused of being an apartheid state. Be proud of who you are. Stand confident in your righteousness Am Yisrael!
Chag Sameach.
*not her real name
About the Author
Marc Arkovitz is the head of pediatric surgeon at Ha'emek medical center in Afula, Israel. He is an associate professor of surgery and pediatrics with more than 20 years experience working in both Israel and the US.
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