Donors to an Israeli medical excellence programme refused to continue funding it because one of the doctors selected this year to receive the money is Arab, the Times of Israel reported.
The Swiss family reportedly froze the $5 million payment to outstanding young physicians, saying it has "no intention" of donating to non-Jewish recipients.
The unnamed donors, who are said to be a "family of Holocaust survivors", have been giving $5 million every year to the Sheba Medical Centre in Ramat Gan near Tel Aviv. The programme, which has been running for the last 13 years, selects eight to ten young aspiring doctors and medical students per year from about 100 candidates for the grant.
Recipients get tens of thousands of dollars that help them fund studies and research papers and attend education programmes and conferences.
The selected Israeli Arab doctor is reported to be in her third year of internship at Sheba's urology department and is regarded as "brilliant, diligent and dedicated", the Times of Israel reported. She lives in central Israel, has been involved in many clinical studies, has published several peer-reviewed papers and has presented her work in conferences in Israel and abroad.
The paper also reported that the donors agreed to reverse their decision and continue funding the winners only if the Arab doctor was deselected. The hospital, however, declined the offer because of the racist demand. The report said that the hospital had found an alternative source of funding for the programme.