Bikur Cholim Hospital 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Dr. Yoram Blachar, former chairman of the Israel Medical Association, who had
been making a last-ditch effort to save Jerusalem’s 143-year-old Bikur Cholim
Hospital, on Tuesday night informed the hospital management and doctors’ union
that he was resigning as chairman of the voluntary organization running the
He said his decision came following “rumors” that Deputy
Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman would not support the remaining option that
would save Bikur Cholim from closing down: That Arkadi Gaydamak – who originally
purchased the hospital for over $32 million and then said he owned only the real
estate – would match state funding and be allowed to build high-rise buildings
on non-historic sections of the downtown campus.
In the last few weeks,
Blachar and his administrative director, Yanai Dagan, tried yet again to save
the hospital. But Blachar said that Litzman “turned a legitimate and important
step to save a hospital that serves many thousands of Jerusalem residents into a
personal and unnecessary dispute. It’s a shame that the future of the hospital
has been determined from considerations of ego and power struggles and not from
those that benefit the real aim." No comment was available from Litzman, a Gur
hassid who in the past has denied that disputes with the former power brokers at
Bikur Cholim – the Porush family – were stymying efforts to save the
Blachar said he had devoted himself to the Bikur Cholim job
because he believed the hospital’s continued operation was justified and that it
could once again flourish.
“We did the best we could and beyond,” said
Blachar, who has filled the position since September.
His successor at
the IMA, Dr. Leonid Eidelman, said he would still try to do what he could to
save Bikur Cholim and preserve the work conditions of its doctors and other
staffers, but with Blachar’s departure, the chance that the haredi-oriented
hospital will shut down due to the Treasury’s determination that it is
“unnecessary and must be closed” is becoming stronger every day.