Court denies MDs’ appeal to halt Bikur Cholim shutdown

Petitioners demand that the state require Russian- Israeli tycoon Arkadi Gaydamak to meet his commitments to run hospital for five years.

Bikur Cholim 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Bikur Cholim 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The Jerusalem District Court on Thursday rejected a request by state doctors’ union and the Israel Medical Association for a restraining order to prevent the closing of Jerusalem’s bankrupt Bikur Cholim Hospital.
The IMA said it would try again through a labor court with the same request.
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The hospital’s life was extended by a month when Clalit Health Services, which owed it NIS 4 million for services its members received there, expedited its payment.
In their Thursday request, the petitioners demanded that the state require Russian- Israeli tycoon Arkadi Gaydamak – who bought the buildings three years ago and promised to run the hospital for at least five years – to meet his commitments.
Gaydamak stopped giving the hospital money over a year ago, when he left for Russia.
Despite the Knesset Finance Committee’s clear decision to continue the 143- year-old hospital’s operation, it became clear to the doctors’ organization that the Treasury intended to close it permanently and transfer only 200 of the hospital’s 700 employees, as well as its beds and equipment, to Shaare Zedek Medical Center and the two Hadassah-University Hospitals.
Bikur Cholim has been in financial trouble for years, largely because of bad management that led to it being put into receivership, and because former board chairman Dudi Zilbershlag allegedly stole NIS 1.6m. from it. The IMA has demanded that the Treasury make a one-time grant of NIS 30m. to put the hospital back on its feet and enable it to become a viable institution.
Dr. Tzaki Ziv-Ner, chairman of the state doctors’ union and a deputy chairman of the IMA, said that at a time when the country’s hospitals were overfilled, it was insane to close an Israeli hospital for the first time in the state’s history – and especially a hospital in the city center.