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Israeli Health Chief Slammed For Vow to Increase Aid to Ukraine as Internal Problems Go Unsolved

© AP Photo / Oded Balilty / A view of Jerusalem Old City seen from Mount of Olives, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017.
A view of Jerusalem Old City seen from Mount of Olives, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.05.2022
Since the beginning of the Russian special operation in Ukraine in February, Israel has been helping the nation on a number of levels. It has provided diplomatic backing, let in thousands of refugees, and provided medical assistance. Now, however, many Israelis are beginning to feel that enough is enough.
As Russia's special military operation in Ukraine enters its fourth month, Israel's Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz says the Jewish state is considering the possibility of treating wounded Ukrainians in hospitals across the country.
After talking to his Ukrainian counterpart on Wednesday, Horowitz announced his decision on Twitter:

"We will allocate a further millions of shekels to medication that will be transferred directly to Ukraine. We will also make sure that wounded Ukrainians will be flown to Israel for treatment - at our expense."

"I want to make it clear again: Israel condemns the brutal Russian invasion and stands alongside Ukraine. This is an unequivocal position, and we are backing it with deeds," he added.
Horowitz didn't specify what he meant by "wounded Ukrainians", but reports suggest that soldiers will be welcome as well.

Public Uproar

The minister's comments have already started to make waves on social networks.
After reading the minister's pledge, Twitter users vented their anger for a number of reasons; some objected to providing medical assistance to Ukrainian fighters who had been involved with extremism.

"Since when should we help the Nazis? Ukrainians are Nazis, don't try to tell me otherwise!" said one tweet.

Others were riled by the liberality with which Horowitz was throwing Israeli taxpayers' money around, at the expense of the local population.

"What do you mean by millions? Our tax money is intended for the people of Israel. Have you finished [tackling the problem of] medication for Holocaust survivors and the elderly? Have you coped with the [long] shifts junior doctors endure? What the hell is wrong with you?"

Others observed: "[so you found money for the Ukrainians] but when cash was needed to provide Israelis with minimum protection from COVID-19, you didn't have the funds, right?"
"Our Holocaust survivors rot here in hospital corridors but our health minister finds extra money to send to other states. Disgusting."

Economic Woes

Their concerns are not groundless: although Israel's health service is considered one of the best in the world, Israeli media has long reported cracks in the establishment.
Hospitals have remained under-developed and lack crucial equipment, and low pay for doctors has prompted many of the finest to move abroad. Junior doctors are forced to work gruelling hours for little pay and this has led to a shortage of students wishing to pursue a career in medicine.
Israel has spent years trying to solve these problems: money has been poured in, plans outlined. Not much has been achieved.
The cracks became particularly visible during the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in February 2020, and there were worries that Israel's health service would buckle under the strain.
It managed to survive the crisis but at a heavy cost, with national economic growth shrinking in the first quarter of 2022.
For the health service to recover, a significant amount of money will be needed, and this is why Israelis feel the minister is ill-advised to splash precious resources on assisting other nations, including beleaguered Ukraine.

"The state lacks money for public health. Citizens are squeezed until [health insurers] agree to pay them, and you're transferring money to Ukraine so freely. Distribute the funds among the citizens of the State of Israel".

"...You are such a loser. When we are asked why the health service here has crumbled, we will be able to say that our idiot minister preferred to give money to a different state instead of handling our own problems".
Since the operation in Ukraine began in February, Israel has been helping Ukrainians. It has welcomed more than 5,000 refugees and supported the anti-Russian resolution at the United Nations. It has also helped Kiev with medical care, setting up a hospital in the west of the country.
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