On Friday, an Arab doctor was moderately injured in a private clinic in Kiryat Malchi after a patient attacked him with a knife.
The town is located on the southern coast of Israel near Ashkelon and has about 25,000 people. The doctor suffered injuries on his hand and the attacker has been arrested, while the assault is being investigated by the police.
On Saturday, surveillance footage was uploaded to Facebook from the clinic, which shows the doctor, Hamdullah Badir, fending off the knife attack and pushing the assailant back before shutting the door on him.
This assault is latest example of medical professionals being subjected to violence in Israel. Zion Hagey, the chair of the Israel Medical Association, had called this situation an ‘epidemic’ earlier this year.
There has been a significant increase in the incidents of violence and back in May, the staff of Galilee Medical Center, which is located in Nahariya, had decided to protest by holding a partial strike.
However, the staff was attacked by a deceased patient’s grieving relatives during that time. Hailing from Kafr Qasim, Badir talked about the attack that occurred on Friday.
The doctor said that he had been working when an individual who had come to the clinic with a relative for treatment took out a large knife and attempted to stab his upper body.
Badir described that he had been shocked. He said that he hadn’t been able to understand what was happening, but had instinctively defended himself.
He grabbed the knife that almost took off one of his fingers and pushed the man out the door and closed it.
He broke several fingers on his left hand, while one on the right was cut to the nerve. The doctor said that he was still in shock and recalling the incident was disturbing his mental health.
He added that he was not going back to work because he was afraid. He said that he had been serving the Kiryat Malachi community for 20 years and could not believe he would suffer from such an attack.
The healthcare sector in Israel has a healthy number of Arabs, as they made up 48% of the new doctors in the country back in 2021, even though Arab Israelis are just 21% of the population.
However, a number of Arab medical professionals have complained about being discriminated and an open letter was signed by Clalit health service’s Arab Israeli employees in 2019 in which they said they were being passed over for promotion.
According to Badir, the response to the assault on him was muted because the attacker was Jewish and he was Arab.
He stated that people would have stood up and not backed down if the roles had been reversed, i.e. the victim Jewish and attacker Arab.
He also talked about the general increase in violence against medical professionals. He said that previously there had only been screaming or scuffles, but things are getting worse.