07/13/2012 07:07 am ET

Crossing Religious Lines in an Israeli Hospital

JERUSALEM — There are no empty beds this day in the recovery room at the Hadassah-Ein Kerem hospital. Doctors and nurses hover over patients. Manar Igbarya, 25, is giving a woman an injection and inspecting a bandage on her right leg. The Orthodox patient is absorbed in talking to her visiting husband. Everyone is chatting in Hebrew; nothing in this scene seems unusual, except that Ms. Igbarya is a Palestinian Muslim.

Muna al-Ayan, 22, who works as a secretary in the same hospital, wears a hijab; everyone recognizes her as a Muslim. She said it had been hard for her to find a job in the past because of that, but she was accepted at the hospital because “all they cared about was how I do my job.” Every so often, she said, smiling, a patient is surprised to see a Muslim working here.

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