Israeli doctors arrive in Ukraine to build NIS 21 million field hospital

An integral part of the Israeli government's humanitarian mission, named after Kyiv-born Golda Meir, was approved on Sunday.

 New immigrants are seen arriving in Israel after fleeing Ukraine. (photo credit: NIR ELIAS/REUTERS)
New immigrants are seen arriving in Israel after fleeing Ukraine.
(photo credit: NIR ELIAS/REUTERS)

The Israeli government voted on Monday to approve plans to construct a field hospital in western Ukraine.

The first group of Israeli doctors has already landed in Ukraine, the head of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky's office Andriy Yermak said on Twitter.

The hospital, to be constructed as part of the Israeli humanitarian efforts amidst the Russian invasion of Ukraine, is planned to be active for at least one month and will cost Israel around NIS 21 million, to be funded by the Health and Foreign Ministries, the Prime Minister's Office and donations.

A field hospital is something that Kyiv had specifically asked Israel to establish as part of its humanitarian mission, which Israel branded as Kochav Meir (Shining Star), named after former Israeli prime minister and Ukrainian native Golda Meir.

The hospital will contain an emergency ward, a delivery ward and several departments for the treatment of male, female and child refugees fleeing the warzones in Ukraine.

 Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz,  December 30, 2021. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV) Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, December 30, 2021. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

The medical aid given will include access to laboratory equipment and capabilities such as X-ray machines and other technologies from Sheba Medical Center that can be used remotely.

Speaking on the proposed field hospital earlier in March, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said it "will be operated by civilians; preparations are underway in the Health Ministry." In an interview given to KAN Reshet B, he added that "there are many volunteers, medical professionals and medics who want to go."

The Israeli government has been working to provide humanitarian aid and support in Ukraine while handling incoming refugees from eastern Europe. Israeli volunteers from United Hatzalah are scattered along different Ukrainian borders, equipped with cases upon cases of medical aid and ready to assist Ukrainian refugees at the country's borders.

Israel has prepared to absorb 100,000 Ukrainians under the Law of Return, which allows anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent to immigrate to Israel. Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked announced the government will allow Ukrainians with a relative in Israel into the country, marking a sudden shift in policy.

Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.