PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman unveil the plaque for Tzrifin’s Yitzhak Shamir Medical Center yesterday, along with members of the Shamir family..
(photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
The state-owned Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Tzrifin has been renamed the Yitzhak Shamir Medical Center by a government decision and with its giving of an unnamed sum to the hospital.
It was previously named after the eminent, fifth-century Jewish-Israeli physician Assaf Ben Brachiahu, who is regarded as the “Jewish Hippocrates.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman and members of the Shamir family, who all strongly advocated the name change in memory of the seventh prime minister and head of the pre-state Lehi, attended the ceremony at the hospital, which is directed by Dr. Benny Davidson.
Netanyahu praised the hospital as being innovative and contributing much to the State of Israel.
“The medical center carries out very interesting work,” he said. “It is of high quality, a leading institution that was always close to the Shamir family. I am sure that giving it his name will contribute to the hospital and reflect the lofty values that Yitzhak Shamir had clung to throughout his life – liberty, love of the people and service for the public.”
The decision to change the name to Yitzhak Shamir Medical Center was taken not only by the ministry, the Prime Minister’s Office and the family, but also by the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, which houses the Shamir private archive. Tuesday’s event marked the 100th anniversary of Shamir’s birth.
Born in 1915, Shamir was Knesset speaker before he became a two-term prime minister. He died in June 2012 at a Tel Aviv nursing home after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for years.
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It is unlikely that Assaf Harofeh, a 900-bed general academic hospital close to Rishon Lezion, Lod and Ramle, and 15 km. from Tel Aviv, will be called the Yitzhak Shamir Medical Center by the general public, just as in the early 80s the Hasharon Medical Center in Petah Tikva was officially renamed the Golda Medical Center in memory of the late prime minister Golda Meir is still known as Hasharon.
Asked how much money the government donated to Assaf Harofeh with the name change and for what purposes, the hospital spokesman said he did not know.
Asked why it backed changing the name of this particular hospital rather than one in the periphery, the Health Minister’s office said Shamir’s wife had been “close to the hospital” and Litzman himself had supported the idea.
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