Israel is next month to stop admitting Syrians wounded in the civil war into government-run hospitals and providing them with taxpayer-funded health care until the government resolves the issue of funding for their treatment, the Health Ministry announced Friday.
According to a report on Channel 2, the ministry said it would stop allowing Syrians into the country’s hospitals from mid-January until a budget for the humanitarian medical care is sorted out.
To date, Israeli hospitals have treated upwards of 400 Syrian injured in the fighting at a cost of roughly NIS 30 million ($8.6 million), the report said. For its part, the IDF has treated over 500 Syrian nationals, the Northern Command’s chief medical officer told the Times of Israel earlier this month.
The Israeli Defense Forces began providing injured Syrians with emergency medical treatment in February 2013 amid increasing violence across the northern border. After setting up a field hospital on the demilitarized zone between the Israeli and Syrian-controlled Golan Heights, Israel began transferring seriously injured Syrian nationals to hospitals in the northern cities of Safed, Tiberias, Haifa and Nahariya.
“Those that are granted entry to Israel and afforded tax-payer-funded treatment at Israeli hospitals, particularly Ziv Medical Center in Safed and the Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya, are triaged and treated solely on the basis of need,” IDF Col. Tarif Bader, the Head of the Northern Medical Command, said earlier this month.
Ministry official Dr. Arnon Ofek told the IDF that starting in mid-January, the doors of four of northern Israel’s hospitals would be closed to Syrian refugees until further notice, if the budget issue is not resolved.
A Defense Ministry official told Channel 2 that the issue of financing treatment for Syrian war-wounded was under investigation.