A member of a religious right-wing political party in Israel sparked controversy after giving completely offensive justification for supporting segregation of Arab and Jewish women in Israeli hospitals.
Responding to a radio report about various hospitals around the country separating Jewish and Arab women in maternity wards, Bezalel Smotrich, defended the policy in a bizarre set of tweets.
“My wife is really no racist, but after giving birth she wants rest and not the mass feasts that are common among Arab mothers who give birth," he tweeted. “It is natural that my wife would not want to lay down next to someone who just gave birth to a baby that might want to murder her baby in another 20 years.”
As outrageous as the statement is, for people who know Smotrich, it comes as no surprise.
He is a notorious legislator who actively defends illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied territories such as the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Also, Smotrich isn’t just a racist. He is also homophobic. In 2006, he helped organize the anti-gay "Beast Parade.”
Last year, when an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man killed one and wounded five others during a gay pride parade, instead of condemning the attacker, Smotrich kept referring to the event as an “abomination parade.”
To top it all off, the lawmaker has never once apologized for his remarks.
“I don’t think I need to respond to every piece of populist nonsense put out by an organization looking for publicity,” he said of his anti-gay comments, according to Arutz Sheva.
“My only accountability is to the public and I can assure and promise it I will not be deterred in the future from expressing my views on any topic, including those that relate to the Jewish character of the state and the promotion of family values.”
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Smotrich isn’t the only one who endorses segregation. His tweets are a representation of a broader mindset many Jewish right-wingers have long practiced but never really acknowledged: the Israeli apartheid.
Segregation between Arabs and Jews is a rampant, thought unofficial, phenomenon in Israel. Quite predictably, the practice occurs in medical establishments such as hospitals. Despite, Knesset’s inquiries into the problem, women in maternity wards are indeed separated in some hospitals, sometimes at the request of patients.