Sunday, October 25, 2020

Erekat Chose Israel?

 Israelis who advocate for a more equal society and better relations between Israel’s Arab and Jewish citizens often point to Israel’s health system as a model of how things should work.

Arabs make up only a fifth of Israel’s population, but represent half the country’s pharmacists, a quarter of its nurses and just under a fifth of its doctors.  Arab doctors lead departments in some of the country’s top hospitals, and nurses and other health care providers play key roles in the Israel’s health delivery system.  Several of the experts frequently cited during the current pandemic are Israeli Arabs, including a leading virologist.

When you visit an Israeli hospital you see a micro-society of dedicated staff working together without regard to ethnic group or religious beliefs.  And you see a patient population that reflects the broad diversity of Israel’s population: Arab and Jew, black and white, Ashkenazi and Sephardic, religious and non-religious.

It’s a potpourri of the sick and injured. There have been times when a terrorist has received treatment in the room next to or on the same floor as a victim of terror.

This “we don’t care who you are, we’re going to take care of you” extends to our Palestinian neighbors, despite ongoing tension, violence, and terror.  For years, as Hamas, which controls Gaza, digs tunnels meant to be used to infiltrate and to inflict violence, as they shoot missiles at Israel’s civilian communities, and as they call for our destruction, Gazans cross the border and are driven to Israeli hospitals for care.  Many who have received Israeli health care would have died without it.  Some come regularly for ongoing treatment for an illness or condition.

Gazans coming for treatment must go through a border checkpoint. The check can be intrusive, uncomfortable, and lengthy.  There have been incidents when the delay caused someone to get worse or die or for a pregnant woman not to get the immediate care she needed.  Israel takes a P.R. beating when that happens.

But there have been occasions when a supposedly ill person is carrying a knife or when a pregnant woman has a bomb buried underneath her clothing.   Then there was the time a Palestinian woman was filmed telling a doctor that she was grateful that Israelis had saved her baby son and that she would be proud if he were to grow up to be a “martyr” as a suicide bomber.  Go figure.    

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Who Is It Good For?

 It is now far beyond policy disagreements. It is beyond rudeness, crudeness, anti-democratic behavior, even racism. It is even beyond reckless pronouncements that lead to the death and illness of thousands of people.

Large, crowded gatherings on the White House lawn without masks. Indoor receptions without masks and social distancing. Attending a debate and having your entire party refuse to wear masks. Attending a fundraiser knowing that you have been exposed and could very well have the virus.

This is unconscionable, irresponsible behavior that predictably led the President and many others in the White House and in key positions, including vital military positions, to become infected with Covid-19.

But it goes beyond that. Once infected, the President knowingly and intentionally endangered Secret Service personnel by taking a totally unnecessary joyride while a patient at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, all for the purpose of being photographed waving at some fans from an airtight vehicle.

Then he left the hospital, when still obviously seriously ill, and returned to the White House, again needlessly endangering staff. In a display that would have made Pinochet or Mussolini salivate, his breathing lumbered, he gave his followers exactly the wrong message: Do not be afraid of covid, do not take it seriously, a mask is not essential. He dramatically ripped off his mask, and walked inside.

Still contagious, he has returned to “work” in the Oval Office, endangering whatever staff not already ill. He said he intended to attend the next debate, and now says that he will only participate if it is in person. We do not know for certain whether the President is contagious because he will not disclose when he last tested negative for the disease.

Combining my law degree with 20 years of faithful viewing of Law and Order, I conclude that it is quite possible that a case could be made, either civilly or criminally, that this kind of behavior amounts to reckless or negligent infliction of harm or endangerment or reckless or negligent homicide. Possibly both civil and criminal actions. (continue at