Friday, November 19, 2010

ha-Tov she-ba-Rof'im - Part II

This week, haShavua's "Kav l'Mishpacha" page adds its two kopeks to the haredi view of the public health system.

At first glance, this is but a rather poorly rendered satire about a family being swept into a physician's office and being summarily diagnosed with a petri dish of diseases, when all they wanted was some water from the clinic's drinking fountain. Have a read (click for larger image):

So much about the "Dr. Stella" depicted in this column symbolizes haredi prejudice against the Other, mainstream Israeli world. 

Take her name, a reference to the Slavic aliya which produced so many GP's but is seen by some haredim as something worse than the "airev rav" in Sinai. 

Dr. Stella, who has a distinctly non-haredi "diploma", not only misunderstands the circumstances of the family's presence in the clinic, but serially misdiagnoses each of the children with diseases such as dysentery, pneumonia, spinal malformation, and flat feet. Even worse, she accuses the mother of neglecting her children by not engaging in constant OCD-type bathing. The reader is shown that this physician is incompetent in the secular scientific profession she purports to practice. She probably has no children or perhaps one child, facilitating her fantasies about perfect pediatric hygiene in a family setting.

Frankly, the scene in which she bolts the exit and traps the family in the examination room is evocative of an NKVD interrogation, or worse.

Dr. Stella represents the alien, other, incompetent, uncomprehending, emotionally unstable and oppressive entity that is the public health system. Conclusion: "They are incapable of understanding us, and should not tell us what to do or how to live our lives. We will tolerate them as a necessary evil only to the extent that they obey the Geonic orders quietly."

Time for a little cheshbon nefesh, haShavua. The family doctors who selflessly put up with everything the public throws at them day after day deserve so much more.

See part III

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