If Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu were at his family home in Caesarea and, chas v’shalom, required emergency medical treatment, he would likely be taken to the closest hospital – Hillel Yafeh, located in Hadera, about 10 kilometers south of Caesarea. Except that the ambulance staff rushing Netanyahu to medical treatment might have to find a different place to bring the prime minister – after a senior Hillel Yafeh department head said that Netanyahu was not welcome in his institution.
The doctor in question is Yaron River, head of the hospital’s neurology department, Yisrael Hayom said Tuesday. Numerous hospital staff confirmed that River told his staff, consisting of dozens of doctors, nurses, and interns, that Netanyahu had better not get sick if he was in commuting distance of Hillel Yafeh.
“He has to go, we have to get rid of him,” River reportedly said at a staff meeting. When asked to whom he was referring, River said that he was talking about Netanyahu. “He lives in Caesarea, so they will bring him here. If he does I am not going to take care of him,” he added.
Commenting on the incident, Deputy Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman said that River’s stance “is very upsetting, and cannot be ignored. Israeli doctors are not authorized to take the law into their own hands and decide who to treat and who not to treat, whether it is the prime minister or anyone else. The primary obligation of those in the health field is to provide treatment to everyone. I have ordered Ministry staff to evaluate the disciplinary actions that need to be taken in this incident. Such comments have no place in the health system, and personal political views must be irrelevant when it comes to treating patients, no matter who they are.”
In a statement, the hospital said that “Dr. River is an excellent physician and is not a political figure. His political views have nothing to do with the level of care he has always given his patients, no matter who they are. Any other statement or implication is clearly taken out of context.”