Gabbai to recommend whether to move Barzilai ER site

Prime Minister’s Office D-G to consult medical, budget, halachic and security experts.

March 29, 2010 00:38
2 minute read.
Kadima and opposition leader Tzipi Livni visits Ba

livni barzilai 311. (photo credit: Itzik Adari)

The dispute over whether to move the site for Barzilai Medical Center’s planned  rocket-proof emergency room to the hospital’s parking lot is a battle for Judaism, opposition leader Tzipi Livni said on Sunday during a visit to Ashkelon with the Kadima Knesset faction.

“Our visit today is part of a struggle,” she said. “A struggle over Judaism and not against Judaism. There is an ongoing struggle over the character of Israel and its values as a Jewish and democratic state. The issue is not just about the Barzilai Medical Center or the city of Ashkelon, but over the way decisions are made in Israel.

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“When we have a prime minister who agrees to any political caprice from any coalition partner, a baseless caprice without any justification, which is not founded on Judaism as I understand it, the entire public pays. We pay in terms of budgets but also in the public’s way of life,” she said, in a reference to United Torah Judaism’s demand that the ER be relocated because of human bones found on the original site.

In a related development, the state informed the High Court of Justice that the director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office, Eyal Gabbai, will study the proposed moving of the emergency room by himself and has not appointed a committee to do so.

The statement to the court was in response to a petition filed last week by the Movement for Quality Government based on an interview given by Menachem Gshayed, adviser to Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman (UTJ). Gshayed said Gabbai had appointed three people to join him on the committee – Gshayed, Rabbi David Shmidl, the head of Atra Kadisha, a haredi organization concerned with preserving Jewish graves, and Shuka Dorfman, director-general of the Antiquities Authority.

“We are not talking about a task force or an examining committee in accordance with a cabinet decision,” wrote attorney Shosh Shmueli, the state’s representative. “The cabinet did not call for such a body but for a process of examination which the prime minister instructed the director-general to conduct. The important thing is that all the people who are relevant to the issue will be heard and all the necessary aspects will be examined and presented to the prime minister, and so it shall be.”

She specified that among others, Gabbai would meet with medical, budget, halachic and security experts and examine “any other aspects which he considers pertinent to the issue.”

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