Minister of Health threatens to stop admitting Syrian refugees

Minister of Health, Rabbi Yaakov Litzman, has threatened to stop admitting and treating Syrian refugees over the rising costs associated with such a policy.

This comes less than two months after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated how proud he was of the dedicated care hospitals in Israel give to Syrian refugees.

The government has barely paid the hospitals for the refugees’ admission. Every day of treatment is estimated to cost about NIS 10,000, yet the state refunds the hospital only NIS 1,300 per Syrian patient.

“The government has decided to admit the wounded of the Syrian conflict, and I think it’s the right thing to do and I do not object to it at all,” said Litzman, adding “but it can’t be that this puts the hospitals into huge debts. There are medical centers that got into enormous deficits just because of this. If it continues—I will issue an unequivocal order to cease treating the Syrian refugees, effective immediately.”

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A meeting is expected to take place on Thursday between Director-General of the Prime Minister’s Office, Eli Groner, and officials from the ministry of health to resolve the debt.

So far, hospitals in Israel have treated 2,278 people who were wounded in the Syrian civil war.

“We’ve been treating Syrian patients for 4 years now. The wounds themselves tend to be very complicated and require complex surgeries with many teams,” explains Director of the Galilee Medical Center Dr. Masad Barhoum. “We suffer the costs of their treatment which means that we can’t afford better technology, renovations or optimal treatment for the residents of the north.”

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