(photo credit: AP)
During its weekly meeting, the cabinet on Sunday unanimously granted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu the authority to make a decision on the issue of the emergency room at Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center.
“I asked the director-general of my office to investigate the matter and report the findings. Based on this, I ask that the government grant me the authority to make a decision to replace the decision made previously,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu, who also serves as Health Minister, will replace Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) as the principal decision-maker on the matter. Litzman’s decision to move the planned building – a fortified emergency room in which patients will be protected from Gaza rocket attacks – has drawn fierce criticism from figures on both sides of the political spectrum.
At Sunday’s meeting, Litzman expressed opposition to the prime minister’s request; however, the ministers accepted it.
The deputy health minister has posited that the much-needed reinforced
emergency room at Barzilai cannot be built over a Byzantine-era
Christian cemetery and ordered that it be moved to a nearby parking lot
at cost of NIS 100 million.
Litzman, a Gur hassid from United Torah Judaism, claims it is an old
Jewish cemetery, but archeologists deny it. The plot planned for the
project was discovered a few years ago to contain human bones, causing
haredi groups to fight the project.Judy Siegel contributed to this report.