Shaare Zedek Hospital.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The campus of Jerusalem’s Bikur Cholim Hospital has been sold by Arkadi Gaydamak to the Ta’aman food company.
The purchasers said they would allow the previously money-losing hospital – which now is run by Shaare Zedek Medical Center – to remain functioning in the center of town. Land not covered by buildings marked for preservation may be used for constructing housing and commercial establishments.
Gaydamak, a Russian-Israeli tycoon, purchased the property when he ran unsuccessfully for mayor against Nir Barkat. Gaydamak thought purchasing the campus would raise his popularity in the ultra-Orthodox population that surrounds the hospital, but he received few votes. He agreed to keep the hospital running for seven years or even more, but later said that at the end of seven years, he wanted to be paid rent by the hospital.
Shaare Zedek, which received state money to rehabilitate and run the hospital on a smaller scale than before, was unlikely to agree to rent payments. The Mishor Adumim-based Ta’aman came to the rescue of Bikur Cholim.
SZMC, which in 2012 pared down Bikur Cholim departments as part of a recovery program and hired numerous Bikur Cholim professionals for its thriving main campus opposite Mount Herzl, said on Wednesday that the campus was sold “recently” and that Bikur Cholim “continues to function normally, to the satisfaction of the patient community.”
The SZMC spokeswoman said that it is “happy to cooperate with the new owners” and run the Bikur Cholim branch in the center of town in the same manner as before.
SZMC director-general Prof. Jonathan Halevy, who is abroad, told The Jerusalem Post that “we are now taking up only about a quarter of the campus. The new owners are veteran Jerusalemites and enthusiastic about having the hospital remain there, at least in its present form.
They are more eager than Gaydamak was that we continue there for many years to come.”