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Ensuring migrants’ right to health? Case of undocumented children in Israel
  1. Dana Moss1,
  2. Zoe Gutzeit2,
  3. Ranit Mishori3,
  4. Nadav Davidovitch4,5,
  5. Dani Filc6
  1. 1International Advocacy Coordinator, Physicians for Human Rights Israel, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Israel
  2. 2Migrants Department and Open Clinic, Physicians for Human Rights Israel, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, UK
  3. 3Family Medicine, Global Health Initiatives, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, District of Columbia, USA
  4. 4School of Public Health Health Systems Management, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
  5. 5Physicians for Human Rights Israel Ethics Committee, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Israel
  6. 6Physicians for Human Rights Israel, Tel Aviv, Israel
  1. Correspondence to Dana Moss; dana{at}


After 18 years of providing government-subsidised medical insurance for children of undocumented migrants, the Israeli Ministry of Health (MOH) decided in 2018 to abruptly reverse its policy. Many children will have access to medical care only in cases of emergency. The policy change is set to potentially impact several thousands of children currently living or born in Israel. The non-profit, humanitarian sector is already seeing the impact on undocumented migrant children, with dozens of families reaching out to Physicians for Human Rights Israel to seek help accessing care for their children. These policy changes seem to be politically motivated, aiming to exclude undocumented communities from the public healthcare system as part of a general strategy of encouraging them to leave Israel. Such actions are antithetical to public health, human rights and medical ethics considerations. The Israeli Medical Association is beginning to challenge the stance of the MOH. To conform to international guidelines—both legal and medical—government ministries and relevant official bodies must follow the advice of the medical community to ensure respect for the right to health.

  • children's rights
  • ethics

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  • Contributors DM and ZG conceived of and planned the paper, carried out the analysis of the results and wrote the manuscript, with input from RM. All authors reviewed and edited the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement There are no data in this work.

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