PM granted authority on Barzilai

Netanyahu to make new decision on ER matter; Litzman opposed to move.

April 11, 2010 12:11
1 minute read.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (AP).

netanyahu 311. (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.

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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.

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