Bikur Cholim Protest 311.
(photo credit: Yossi Lipsitz)
More than 200 doctors, nurses and other staff members and their families at
Jerusalem’s Bikur Cholim Hospital demonstrated in the center of town on Sunday
to plead for a NIS 30 million state grant to keep the hospital from closing in
The demonstration was held at the corner of Jaffa Road and
Rehov Strauss, the intersection where – on August 9, 2001 – they saved lives
following the suicide bombing in the Sbarro restaurant that killed 15 civilians
and wounded 130. As the only hospital in the city center, Bikur Cholim staffers
ran to the site when they heard the massive explosion a block away and
immediately treated victims.
The protesters wore white coats and held
stretchers as if to say that this time, the hospital needed to be
Bikur Cholim, which had suffered from poor management over the
years, the abandonment by owner Arkadi Gaydamak and even alleged theft by the
former head of the voluntary organization that ran it, has 700 employees and 200
inpatient beds. The staff have in recent months made a NIS 1.1m.-a-month loan
from their salaries to management to keep the hospital running, but this cannot
Israel Medical Association chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman said
Bikur Cholim could be run without debts if it were stabilized with the NIS
30m. requested state allotment.
The Treasury has so far remained
mum, while the Health Ministry supports the continuation of the hospital’s
operations but has no money to give. The staffers called on Prime Minister and
Health Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to intervene immediately.