Bikur Cholim Hospital 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Jerusalem’s venerable Bikur Cholim Hospital, whose continued operation has been
hanging on by a thread despite Treasury opposition, will either live or die this
week, according to board chairman Dr. Yoram Blachar.
He told The
Jerusalem Post on Sunday that the 650 remaining workers will either get their
February salaries in a few days, if funding is obtained, or the hospital will be
forced into temporary receivership by the Jerusalem District Court, which will
bring a final end to the bankrupt 143-year-old institution.
is still determined to shut it down, saying that the Hadassah Medical
Organization and/or Shaare Zedek Medical Center could take up the slack –
although no one has explained how either hospital would find delivery rooms and
neonatal intensive care beds for the thousands of births that take place at
Bikur Cholim annually.
During the past few weeks, Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu – who is formally the health minister – has started to personally
address Bikur Cholim’s financial problems, which had not done before. Netanyahu
explained his preferences to Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman, a Gur
hassid who is under personal pressure to find a way to keep Bikur Cholim alive.
Health Ministry Director-General Dr. Ronni Gamzu has also spent long hours
trying to find a solution for the crisis.
Treasury opposition is very
difficult to head off. The Finance Ministry has for months refused to comment,
giving the identical comment from the beginning that the two major hospital
organizations should be taking over Bikur Cholim and that the downtown hospital
is not necessary for Jerusalem’s healthcare.