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Israeli Arab Doctor Becomes Israel’s Youngest Medical Professor

January 17, 2023

by: Kate Norman

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Dr. Watad specializes in autoimmune diseases, particularly rheumatoid arthritis.

Tuesday, 17 January 2023 | An Arab Israeli doctor has earned the title of youngest physician to become a professor at the Tel Aviv University Faculty of Medicine.

Dr. Abdulla Watad, 35, hails from the Arab village of Jatt, which lies halfway between Tel Aviv and Haifa. Watad specializes in autoimmune diseases, particularly rheumatoid arthritis. He works at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv as a senior rheumatologist and has co-authored over 200 peer-reviewed scientific articles.

After graduating medical school in Genoa, Italy, Watad started work at the Sheba center in 2013, Israel21c reported.

Watad told Ynetnews that early on in his residency, he approached Prof. Yehuda Shoenfeld, one of Sheba’s senior autoimmune disease experts, who became his mentor. Watad completed a study on antibodies in rheumatoid arthritis and presented his findings in Nice, France, in 2014.

“From there, it’s all history,” Watad told Ynetnews.

The young physician credits his success, Ynetnews reported, to hard work and the help of his mentors, Professor Shoenfeld as well as Prof. Howard Amital, director of Sheba’s Institute for Autoimmune Diseases.

“Being an Arab is always something really interesting in Israel because we would like to be involved in the daily work and research and also treating patients,” Watad said in a video by Sheba Medical Center. “And to be fair, at Sheba, I never felt there is discrimination between Arab or non-Arab.”

“And this is thanks to the manager and the head of this hospital that they can really give all the support regardless of your background,” Watad added.

In defiance of the “apartheid state” libel, the Jewish state’s health care system is, according to left-wing Haaretz newspaper, “a model in Jewish–Arab Equality and Coexistence.”

According to the aforementioned article, which was published in 2017, 42% of nursing students are Arab, 38% of pharmacists are Arab, as are 16% of medical students in 2015—which, Haaretz noted, was nearly proportionally equivalent to the Arab population of Israel. The article also noted that 62% of the pharmacists at the mega drugstore chain Superpharm are Arabs.

The co-director of Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem told the Jerusalem Post in 2021 that of its 5,000 employees, between 20% and 25% are Arab, which is proportionate to the rate of Arab patients treated by the hospital. Prof. Jonathan Halevy added that after running the hospital for 31 years, “there have never been tensions among the staff on an ethnic basis. We are all united by the mission to work for the patients.”

Posted on January 17, 2023

Source: (Bridges for Peace, January 17, 2023)

Photo Credit: Laboratoires Servier/

Photo License: Wikimedia

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