A cornerstone ceremony took place this week for the new trauma center and emergency department at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, the UJA- Federation announced. A dedicated trauma room and 43 beds will be constructed by 2021. Philanthropists Nathan and Frances Kirsh celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary by donating $5 million to the project. The couple attended the cornerstone laying ceremony along with Beersheba Mayor Rubik Danielovitch and directors of Clalit, the health fund that runs the hospital. The Kirsh's philanthropic gift was matched by Clalit and supplemented by several donors from the UJA-Federation and Keren Hayesod.
Beersheba in particular and the southern Negev region where the major Israeli city is located are expected to increase in population in the coming years. That coupled with the relocation of several Israel Defense Force bases, necessitate the new facility.
Sorokoa's emergency department ranks Israel's most active with 250,000 patients every year from the southern tip of Eilat to Kiryat Gat in the Negev's north.
Speaking at the event, Kirsh stated, "It's a mistake to thank us for the donation. The truth of the matter is that we are lucky enough to be able to do so and are privileged to be a part of this amazing complex that we are visiting today."
Eric S. Goldstein, CEO, UJA-Federation of New York added, "the expanded emergency department will provide best-in-class care to all citizens of Israel’s south, and will help strengthen the infrastructure of Beersheba."The addition will be called the Frances and Nathan Kirsh Emergency Department.