In a flagrantly racist incident, reflecting the atmosphere of incitement increasingly gripping public opinion in Israel, the administration of the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem fired Dr. Ahmad Mahajna of Umm al-Fahem this week for handing out candy to sick children in one of the wards.
According to reports, Dr. Mahajna was fired because he handed out sweets to Muhammad Abu Katish (16), a patient at the hospital being treated for wounds while being suspected of carrying out a “stabbing attempt” in Jerusalem in October. Muhammad was shot by a passing policeman in the heart of a playground in Sheikh Jarrah, claiming that he was trying to carry out a “stabbing attack.”
Attorney Khaled Mahajna, Dr. Mahajna’s brother, said that doctors distributed sweets to the nurses and hospital staff at the end of an event where they celebrated the success of their colleagues in the medical qualification test held at the hospital. Since many sweets were left over, nurses suggested to hand them out to the children hospitalized there. “They asked my brother for permission to share the sweets with patients and he agreed. As they handed out the candy, a number of guards entered the hospital and saw the nurses handing out sweets to Muhammad Abu Katish. They objected to this and when Dr. Mahajna intervened, they attacked him,” Mahajna’s brother said.
Dr. Mahajana said that there was a confrontation with the guards who claimed that it was forbidden to distribute sweets. He clarified that the guards ran a racial incitement campaign against him and incited the administration against the doctor, his brother, and his father attorney Ruslan Mahajna. The guards demanded that the hospital punish the doctor’s brother and father because they “represent the Palestinian prisoners,” and claimed that Dr. Mahajna “distributed sweets to a Palestinian terrorist and terror supporter,” while also accusing the doctor and his family of supporting terrorism.
After the illegal dismissals, the Mahajna family clarified that they intend to take the case to court and sue the hospital and its guards for the decision and the racist incitement campaign.
Dr. Mahajna, a heart and eye surgeon, said that “next to the injured boy, there were two policemen who did not object to what the nurse did. Only after that one of the officers turned to me and demanded that I identify myself, even though I was in my work clothes, I told him to go and check my identity with the department’s management.” Three weeks later, Dr. Mahajna was summoned for questioning by the Jerusalem police and a hearing with the hospital administration before being dismissed.
Dr. Mahajna sees this as clear incitement and racial persecution against him and his brother and father, who defended the Palestinian prisoners who escaped from Gilboa prison earlier this year.