Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Health Minister Yael German have finally decided to allocated NIS 30 million more to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon to complete the reinforcement of the hospital against rockets from Gaza. They announced their decision during a tour of the embattled facility on Monday, during which they visited wounded soldiers and civilians.
The hospital was previously allocated NIS 120 million, but it was not enough to protect all the surgical theaters, intensive care units, imaging centers, and sterile supply room.
Lapid said he was impressed by the determination and inner strength of the hospital’s medical staff despite the attacks on the city.
Barzilai’s efforts to fortify the campus have been started and halted several times.
In 2010, when United Torah Judaism MK Ya’acov Litzman was deputy health minister, he ordered the cancellation of plans to build a fortified emergency department over a large parking lot, claiming that ancient bones unearthed there were Jewish remains.
He persisted, even though archeologists insisted that the bones belonged either to Christians or pagans. After many twists, the Netanyahu government canceled his decision and the construction project went ahead.
Fortification against enemy attacks “has been a project that got stuck and has taken a long time,” said Lapid.
“We came here to inform the mayor of Ashkelon, who is here with us, and the hospital management, that we have decided to allocate the last NIS 30 million that are missing to complete it. Now the construction can be completed speedily and without superfluous delays,” said the finance minister.
German added that Barzilai is “functioning in an exceptional manner and its devoted staff members are doing excellent work.”