Former prime minister Ariel Sharon’s family will pay part of his medical
expenses, which total NIS 1.5 million annually, the Knesset Finance Committee
decided on Monday.
A panel appointed by the committee investigated the
state’s payment of Sharon’s medical bills, and determined that the public should
be responsible for NIS 750,000 every year, and the other half will be paid by
Opinion: Missing Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon moved home to his Negev ranch
The change came after Sharon’s family asked to transfer the
former prime minister, who has been comatose since January 2006, to his ranch in
the South, which would increase his medical expenses.
The state and the
Sharon family will pay for manpower, medical equipment and ongoing expenses
necessary for him to have hospital conditions at home. In addition, medical
staff from Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer will be brought to the ranch,
and a part-time administrative worker will be hired to coordinate between the
Sharon family, the hospital and the Prime Minister’s Office.
At the same
time, the panel found that it is in the public’s interest to move Sharon out of
Sheba Medical Center, because there are not enough free rooms for
“An ethical and civilized state must continue paying for a
prime minister who fell into a coma during his term,” Finance Committee chairman
Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) explained.
The panel recommended that
the state continue paying its share of the medical fees as long as it is
necessary. The payments will be made after Sharon exhausts other options such as
National Insurance and medical funds.
The investigative panel is made up
of Prime Minister’s Office director-general Eyal Gabai, Health Ministry
director- general Ronni Gamzu and attorney Aryeh Stauber. The panel’s
recommendations must be authorized by the Knesset Finance Committee, which
determines former prime ministers’ pensions and benefits.