Bnai Zion Medical Center.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
During the Second Lebanon war in 2006, a Hezbollah rocket just missed hitting the fuel storage facility of Haifa’s Bnai Zion Medical Center, causing management to realize the hospital’s need for fortified, underground facilities.
Bnai Zion is the only hospital in the Haifa region that has not yet been fortified against the ongoing threat of rocket attacks.
But that is about to change, thanks in part to a $3 million grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to construct a fortified emergency department and underground hospitalization department.
“The missile hit less than 100 meters from the hospital, breaking windows, but thankfully, no one was injured,” Hospital director-general Dr. Amnon Rofe told The Jerusalem Post
on Sunday. The new facility, which will cost a total of NIS 18m., will be ready in three years, Rofe said.
The hospital has raised half of the money for construction from donors, including the Helmsley Trust and the Health Ministry, which owns the hospital and has committed itself to funding the other half. The Helmsley Trust has given more than $170m. for medical, scientific and technological institutions. The $3m. donation will enable the hospital, which was founded in 1922, to significantly increase the capacity of its current emergency room facilities, introduce advanced technology, and to remain fully operational in times of emergency.
The enlarged emergency department will cover some 1,540 square meters and will accommodate 35 regular beds and 53 beds for use in emergency situations.
The underground hospitalization department, spanning more than 1,870 sq. m., will accommodate 58 beds and offer a complete range of medical services.
Rofe noted: “It’s not a matter of if, but when the next attack will come, making the fortified emergency room and underground hospitalization department our top priority. On behalf of the Bnai Zion Medical Center, I am very grateful for the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s generous gift that allows us to achieve this important goal and protect our staff and patients at all times.”
Commenting on the grant, Sandor Frankel, a Helmsley trustee, said: “The Helmsley Charitable Trust is proud to continue to support medical institutions across Israel, especially in the North and South, to serve the diverse population in the country with the most advanced technologies available in all regions and at all times. Thanks to the unique design for the new emergency department and underground hospitalization department, devised in consultation with medical professionals experienced in treating terrorism victims, the hospital will be able to continue to treat patients seamlessly even during times of emergency.”