Raed Arafat

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Raed Arafat
رائد عرفات
Minister of Health
In office
7 November 2012 – 21 December 2012
Personal details
Born (1964-05-27) May 27, 1964 (age 50)
Damascus, Syria
Citizenship Romanian, Syrian
Nationality Palestinian
Alma mater UMF Cluj-Napoca
UMF Târgu Mureș
Profession Physician
Cabinet Victor Ponta
Religion Islam

Raed Arafat (Romanian pronunciation: [raˈed araˈfat], first name also spelled Rayed; born May 24, 1964) is a Syrian-born Romanian intensive care physician of Palestinian origin. An anesthesiologist, he is the founder of Mobile Emergency Service for Resuscitation and Extrication (SMURD), as well as the coordinator of Mureș County.[clarification needed] He was also for a while the Minister of Health in 7-21 November 2012, serving many years as Under-Secretary of State for Health in the Romanian Government.[1]

Early life[edit]

Arafat was born in Damascus to a Palestinian couple from Nablus. He worked as a volunteer in emergency medicine from the age of 14.[2][3] In 1981 he emigrated to Romania and initially settled in Pitești, where he took Romanian language classes.


Arafat enrolled at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Cluj-Napoca.[2][3] He later moved to the Târgu Mureș University of Medicine, where he underwent specialization in anesthesiology.[3][4] He completed a number of specialist courses abroad, training with the Paris Fire Brigade, the United States National Guard, and the Norwegian Air Ambulance.[4]


Following the 1989 Revolution, Arafat contemplated leaving for France, but his application was rejected,[2] so he concentrated instead on creating an emergency service in Târgu Mureș (which he originally financed with personal funds).[2]

In 1991, he created SMURD, a mobile emergency service which began collaborating with the Romanian firefighting service[2] and the Fire service of Scotland,[3] working for it as a volunteer until 1998, when he gained Romanian citizenship.[2][3]


In late 2005, his project to have SMURD function as an additional rescue service at a county level was passed into law, but raised opposition from the physician and Social Democratic politician Sorin Oprescu, who had drafted an alternative proposal.[5] A reference to Arafat as "the Ayatollah of Romanian emergency medicine" and the stress he placed on the latter's country of origin brought Oprescu to the attention of the National Anti-Discrimination Office.[5]

[6] A first aid instructor, he coordinated international lectures on the matter in several countries (including Austria, Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States).[4] In 2003, he was made a Knight of the National Order of Merit of Romania (a Grand Officer since 2005).[4]

Since August, 2009, he has held the position of Under-Secretary of State for Health.[7] He resigned from this position on January 10, 2012, as he expressed criticism on the health system reform.[8] After a series of protests in several cities,[9] the government announced changes to the reform plan, and Dr Arafat returned to his post as Under-Secretary of State.[10] In november-december 2012 was minister of health, then came back to his charge as undersecretary in the same ministry.


  1. ^ http://www.dw.de/o-alegere-unanim%C4%83/a-16362154
  2. ^ a b c d e f (Romanian) 2006 interview with Raed Arafat, hosted by Rompres
  3. ^ a b c d e (Romanian) Andi Laslau, "Arabii din România, radiografie completă", at News4Romania.ro
  4. ^ a b c d (Romanian) "Raed Arafat" at Gala Societăţii Civile
  5. ^ a b (Romanian) Geta Roman, "Ayatollah-ul Arafat l-a învins de urgenţă pe feudalul Oprescu", in Cotidianul, October 25, 2005
  6. ^ (Romanian) Irina Dimiu, "«Hobbyul meu: să salvez oameni»" (interview with Raed Arafat), p.2, in Avantaje
  7. ^ "Romanian bus collision kills 11". BBC News. 14 August 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  8. ^ http://ziarero.antena3.ro/article/view/id/10403
  9. ^ "Emergency call as Romania austerity protests escalate". BBC News. BBCNews. 2012-01-16. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  10. ^ Kulish, Nicholas (February 10, 2012). "Palestinian Helps Romania Remake Its Emergency Care System". The New York Times.