Epigraph: Were you present when death came to Jacob, when he said to his sons, ‘What will you worship after me?’ They answered, ‘We will worship thy God, the God of thy fathers, Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac, the One God; and to Him we submit ourselves.’ (Al Quran 2:134)
Source: The Jerusalem Post
The High Court of Justice instructed the Health Ministry on Wednesday to ensure the allocation of space in the six major public hospitals for prayer rooms for Muslims and people of other religions.
Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center and Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba — two of the six — already has a prayer room in addition to a synagogue. The others, which will have to set up such rooms, are Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva, Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer and the Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem.
The hospitals have 18 months to open the prayer rooms. Read further in Jerusalem Post
Israel agrees to open Muslim prayer rooms in six largest hospitals
Health Ministry assures High Court of Justice that Israel’s largest hospitals will have prayer areas for Muslims within a year and a half.
By Dan Even | Jun.27, 2013 |
Israel’s six largest hospitals will open Muslim prayer rooms within the next 18 months, the Health Ministry informed the High Court of Justice Wednesday in response to a petition on the issue.
Health Ministry director general Roni Gamzu assured the court Wednesday that within the next year and a half, Ichilov (Tel Aviv), Sheba (Tel Hashomer), Beilinson (Petah Tikva), Hadassah-Ein Karem (Jerusalem), Rambam (Haifa) and Soroka (Be’er Sheva) hospitals will have all Muslim prayer rooms. Rambam and Soroka already have such areas, he said.
The musallah, or prayer room, is distinct from a mosque, which is a separate structure.
The state added that it would examine the possibility of adding prayer areas for Muslims in smaller hospitals as well.
Gamzu stressed that in 2011 he told the Health Ministry’s legal adviser, in response to numerous inquiries on the matter, that in principle he supports the establishment of prayer areas for Muslims in all government-owned hospitals. He said he supports enabling members of all religions to conduct their rites in hospitals.
The petition, which is being heard by Justice Neal Hendel, was filed by Salim Nasser, an Israeli Muslim who had visited a relative hospitalized at Ichilov Hospital and found that there was no dedicated prayer area for Muslims.
According to Nasser’s attorney, Yehuda Ressler, “The petitioner and his family came from a distance and had to say their prayers on the hospital lawn, which he doesn’t deem appropriate.”
Nasser claimed that he felt “embarrassed and discriminated against.”
Ressler said he would soon respond to the state’s submission.
The subject of Muslim prayer areas in hospitals was at the center of a dispute in the summer of 2011 between then Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman and the director of the Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya, Dr. Massad Barhoum, the first non-Jew to head a government hospital in Israel. Protests by some of the medical staff broke out when Barhoum announced that he was planning to build a prayer space 0on the hospital grounds.
The first Muslim prayer room in Soroka opened over a decade ago, and in recent years several hospitals in the north have also opened such rooms, including Rambam, Ha’emek in Afula, Poriya near Tiberias, and Hillel Yaffeh in Hadera.