Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman and his director-general Dr. Ronni Gamzu
are trying to persuade the Treasury to supply matching funds so that a potential
purchaser of Jerusalem’s bankrupt Bikur Cholim Hospital who lives abroad will be
able to buy it and keep it going. His name has been kept
According to people involved in the campaign to persuade the
Treasury, the foreign businessman, who is secular even though the hospital is
Orthodox-oriented, is willing to invest a dollar for every dollar the government
“He wants to give charity and do good but also to make money
from the medical institution,” according to a source close to the
However, both the ministries have been extremely tight lipped,
with the Health Ministry ignoring requests for information on what will happen
on February 9, when the 143-year-old hospital’s 700 employees expect to be paid
their January salaries.
All the Finance Ministry would do on Monday was
issue the same terse press release it put out a month ago – that it is a “public
private hospital and not supported by the state. It must turn to the courts to
deal with the matter. If its financial situation does not allow it to function
properly, the government will formulate its position in accordance with health
considerations and take action, including the division of the hospital between
Jerusalem’s Hadassah and Shaare Zedek Medical Centers.”
hospitals have so far refused to manage Bikur Cholim or hire all its
In the meantime, while some employees have already left for
other jobs, others are determined to hang on until its future is determined.
Medical treatments continue to be provided, women give birth and others are
still registering to deliver at Bikur Cholim at the end of their
The Treasury has so far adamantly refused the hospital
management’s request for a “one-time” NIS 30 million grant to put it back in
financial health and give it the opportunity to be run on a profitable
The hospital’s facilities were purchased a few years ago by
Russian-Israeli businessman Arkadi Gaydamak, but his financial fortune and
interest in Israel have been much diminished, and he now demands rent from the
voluntary organization that runs the institution.
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