Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Is Israel An Apartheid State? Check Out Your Local Israeli Pharmacy

During an exchange of emails, a friend wrote the following:
Here are four mundane data points to which I can speak personally. Most Israelis can surely add to the list:
1. To buy medicine for the family, I go to a pharmacy - either one of the commercial chains or in special cases to the pharmacy of the health fund (Kupat Holim). Most of the time, in most of those places, the pharmacist serving you, usually in a pleasant or at least professional way, is an Arab. My wife was at the Kupat Holim Me'uhedet pharmacy in central Jerusalem Sunday night. She told me afterwards that all four of the pharmacists behind the counter here are Arabs, chatting to one another in their language. No big deal.

2. Related to point 1: A family member is in the final stages of getting her degree in pharmacy. She says that the class in her year at her (major Israeli) university is about 50% Arab. No big deal.

3. Another family member is getting a degree in dentistry. At her (major Israeli) university, in her year, she counted heads and says the Arab students are exactly 80% of the class. No big deal.

4. I'm frequently in the pediatric wards of several Israeli hospitals. I can't quote exact numbers, but in most such wards and at most times, the population of Arab patients is around 50% of the total - all (naturally) receiving the same level of excellent care and service. No big deal.
None of this is a big deal at all. In fact, these small points are only noteworthy because of the ugly allegations against Israeli society that assert such a very different reality. Israeli society doesn't deserve a gold medal for creating a live-and-let-live environment. But to call it an Apartheid society?
Just passing this on...

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