The Committee on the matter of illegal immigrants gathered today to a special discussion, in the presence of the Minister of Health and Welfare, Knesset Member Yael Germann (Yesh Atid) about the health care service given to those of no status in Israel (the shelter seekers and the job seekers).

The Chair of the Committee, Knesset Member Michal Rozin (Meretz) said on the discussion: ”In a big part of the cases there are no medical services provided to this population. As a result, they do not get health safeguards and put at risk the health of the public in Israel. Rozin mentioned that the law of national health insurance does not apply on those of no status and they do not have access to Health Maintenance Organizations.

Germann: ”We are obligated, as a state, to take care of people of all classes. The different medical care services given to those of no status are budgeted in between 50-70 million shekels. I will check the possibility of giving them extra medical rights, the way the law of national health insurance allows me.

Knesset Member Dov Khenin (Hadash): We cannot ignore the people who are in medical distress and are staying among us, even if in the future it will be decided to return them to their origin country. They must receive medical care, regardless of the question of their civilian status.”

Dr. Mickey Dor of the Ministry of Health revealed that we are talking of a population of 150-250 thousand people, who do not have medical insurance. ”The state of Israel is signed on an international petition of taking care of kids, and therefore supply all the services needed to them. And yet, only about a half of the illegal immigrants` kids have insurance, probably because the service is not given for free; there is an accessibility problem and a fear of national treatment.”

Dr. Ido Luria from the Physicians for Human Rights organization: ”Some of the patients pay a dollar a day to the private insurance companies. Their choice of the private sector brings a loss of 50 million shekels to the state`s fund.”

At the end of the discussion, Knesset Member Rozin expressed her appreciation of the minister`s declaration and added: ”As long as the Israeli government continues its lack of policy towards foreigners, it is its duty to take responsibility for their health and well-being. It is not only the moral thing to do, but also the right thing to do for the rest of society. The government of Israel must consider an option of giving arranged jobs to the shelter seekers, and by that enable an organization of the health care payments. The Ministry of Health must cooperate with the Ministry of Education and encourage the dissemination of information and raising the awareness at schools for parents to have insurance for their children.”