Arabs living in Israel have always enjoyed free and unlimited access to medical services. Israeli hospitals have always been full of Arab patients, who often heap praise on doctors and nurses for offering them the best treatment.

Even Arabs from neighboring countries have been seeking medical treatment in Israeli hospitals.

This is why it is hard to understand why any Arab would ever consider attacking Israeli medical staff. How do such attacks help the Palestinian cause or any Arab or Islamic cause?

Those who think that the attacks on ambulances and medical teams will help "liberate" Palestine are criminals who should be punished severely.

It is sad that leaders of the Arab community have not come out in full force to condemn the despicable phenomenon. Those who are refusing to come out in public against the attacks on ambulances are as bad as the rock-throwers, who are causing huge damage to Arabs and endangering their lives.

Lately, there have been a number of incidents where Arabs hurled stones at Israeli Magen David [Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross, the Shield of David] ambulances in Jerusalem and other parts of the country. What is particularly outrageous is the fact that the ambulances are pelted with stones when they arrive at an Arab neighborhood to help Arabs.

Last week, two Magen David ambulances that were rushed to an Arab village in Jerusalem to save the life of a young man who had fallen from the fifth floor of a building were attacked with big stones by local youths. Miraculously, no one was hurt in the attack, but a lot of damage was caused to the vehicles.

In a separate incident last month, dozens of Arabs hurled stones at paramedics who came to treat a man who had been seriously injured in a car accident near the Arab city in Israel of Umm al-Fahm.

There is absolutely nothing "heroic" or "patriotic" about attacking ambulances, paramedics, physicians and nurses, especially not when they are trying to save the lives of the perpetrators and their family members. The real heroes are the medical teams and ambulance drivers, not the thugs and cowards who throw the stones.

Many Arabs in Jerusalem are extremely grateful to the Israeli medical teams for their services. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Arabs can testify how these paramedics and doctors saved their lives.

Just two weeks ago, a 65-year-old Arab woman in Jerusalem who suffered a heart attack talked about how the Magen David medical team that rushed to her home had literally saved her life.

Sadly, however, Israeli ambulances have been instructed not to enter Arab areas without a police escort because of the recurring attacks on the vehicles and medical staff. This has caused delays in the arrival of the ambulances to their destination.

Magen David paramedics should be commended for the great work they are doing to offer the best medical treatment to patients -- regardless of their nationality and religion. They should be commended for endangering their lives to enter Arab villages and neighborhoods to save lives.

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