A panel discussion “A Health System from the Movies” held in Eilat among hospital personnel touched on this issue.
Dikla Aharon Shpern, a health writer for Kol Israel radio, explained, “It's a hot topic because all the hospitals are telling us that there's no separation at all, when in reality there is. During a Knesset discussion, a senior management figure from Hadassah explained that the hospital tries to honor the requests of those who choose to give birth with them.”
Wolfson Hospital spokesperson Michal Winshel-Sheinman explained that the requests usually arise from valid cultural differences. “I understand both sides, but it's all about nuances: When I give birth, it's hard for me to deal with Arab partying and loud events, because I want my peace and quiet. The Arab custom is to bring lots of visitors and have parties in the mother's room and separating the women when possible prevents complaints from Jewish mothers who want quiet.”
There is also an underlying financial motivation to the hospitals’ concessions to maternity patients — the fierce competition among hospitals to attract such patients, due to the government paying for the births which makes maternity patients an easy source of income.
This competition brings many hospitals to offer benefits such as an extra day in their Mother and Baby center at the hospital’s expense.