Police Called After Arabs Clash With Jewish Family Singing Zemiros in Hospital Ward

Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

A brawl broke out in Yerushalayim’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center on Shabbos as an Arab family clashed with a Jewish family in a ward.

Police were called to the hospital when the disagreement broke out in the oncology department, Channel 12 reported Sunday. There were no injuries reported in the incident, and police opened an investigation.

The Gerstel family, who are Jewish, were visiting their family member when an Arab patient in the same ward died. Family members began to arrive to pay their last respects and as the space became crowded, tensions escalated, according to the report.

Elimelech Gerstel told Channel 12 that he arrived at the hospital on Friday with his mother, brother and sister to visit his father. After the other patient in the room died, “dozens of people arrived and flooded the room,” which, he said, had three other patients in it.

The situation became tense when the Gerstel family started singing zemiros. One of those visiting the deceased man told the Gerstels that the singing was disturbing him, the report said.

Then, as more people arrived to pay their respects, Gerstel’s sister asked that they not crowd the room so much. In response, Gerstel says, they attacked her, and the man who had complained earlier about their singing threw a chair at her.

“This is a very serious incident and I hope police bring the perpetrators to justice,” Gerstel told Channel 12.

Police opened an investigation and took a statement from Gerstel’s sister, he said.

The hospital said in a statement that it takes a “very serious view” of violence within the medical center and that it was carrying out its own investigation of the affair.

The issue of violence in the healthcare system gained prominence in Israel with numerous incidents, including attacks on staff, reported each year.