‘I feared for my life’: Arabs riot in Jerusalem hospital after patient dies

Family of deceased beat employees and destroyed medical equipment after the attempt to save the patient’s life failed.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Dozens of Arabs rioted at Hadassah-University Medical Center on Mt. Scopus Monday, beating staff and destroying hospital equipment after a family member died in the ICU.

The patient had been rushed to the hospital in critical condition after a drug overdose; attempts to revive him failed. When medical staff informed the eastern Jerusalem family of his death, they stormed into the department,  hitting the personnel and trashing the nurses’ station, including medical gear and computers.

Two staff members were lightly hurt in the melee before security guards and police arrived and restored order. The wounded received treatment in the hospital’s emergency room.

Hospital personnel were left stunned and shaken over the violence.

“We at Hadassah express a deep shock at the difficult incident that happened here, in a place where we only think about saving lives and work to relieve our patients’ pain,” said the hospital’s director, Dr. Tamar Elram, who rushed to the scene.

“Our team, dedicated people who do their job faithfully around the clock, were beaten and injured, and do not believe that after the efforts they invested in caring for a patient, his family repaid them with such serious violence.”

One of the nurses, she added, told her that she’d been a nurse for 21 years, “and this was the first time I feared for my life.”

Rioters' damage at Hadassah Hospital Mt Scopus

Some of the damage caused by Arab rioters at Hadassah Medical Center-Mt. Scopus Monday, May 16, 2022 (Hadassah Spokesperson’s Office)

Elram demanded serious repercussions for the perpetrators, as did the Ministry of Health.

“We must not be silent and will not rest until they are brought to the most severe justice,” Elram said.

Saying that “physical or verbal violence against medical personnel is a serious phenomenon,” the ministry called in its own statement for the authorities “to act with a forceful hand against anyone who chooses the path of violence.”

Deputy Mayor Hagit Moshe labeled the incident “civilian terrorism for all intents and purposes” and called in turn for the Jerusalem police to immediately arrest the assailants.

“Attacking medical personnel whose entire purpose is to save lives and aid civilians in trouble is a low and immoral act,” she said.

“I support the Hadassah medical staff at this difficult time,” she added. “Hospitals in Jerusalem must remain a safe and protected place for everyone who enters – doctors, nurses and patients as one, no matter their religion, race or gender.”

The police have so far announced the arrest of one man in his 20s and say they expect to detain others who were involved in the incident and then fled the scene.