First Druse to head an Israeli hospital

Col. Dr. Salman Zarka will head Safed’s Ziv Medical Center, bringing 25 years of experience in the IDF Medical Corps.

Dr. Salman Zarka (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Dr. Salman Zarka
Col. Dr. Salman Zarka, head of the Israel Defense Forces’ health services, has been named director-general of Safed’s Ziv Medical Center, thus becoming the first Druse to head an Israeli hospital.
Zarka served in the IDF Medical Corps for the last 25 years.
Born in Peki’in in the Upper Galilee into a large Druse family, he is married and the father of three. He studied medicine at the Technion’s Rappoport Medical Faculty as part of the IDF’s academic program and then went directly into the Medical Corps, with special expertise in public health and medical administration.
He has also lectured in University of Haifa's Welfare and Health Faculty, and Hebrew University’s special military medicine program in Jerusalem. He is the author of many medical journal articles.
Zarka is a graduate of the National Security College, where he earned a master’s degree (summa cum laude) in political science and national security. He also received a master’s of public health degree from the Hebrew University’s Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine.
His last position in the IDF was as head of the medical services center and the department of health services. For the last 18 months, he has run the humanitarian hospital in the Golan Heights. He planned and established the field hospital on the Syrian border to provide medical services for Syrians who have been wounded in the civil war there.
Zarka was recommended for the Safed post by the previous ministry director-general Prof. Roni Gamzu after Ziv’s longtime director-general, Dr. Oscar Embon, retired recently.
After he was named, two other candidates applied and turned to the Civil Service Commission, which investigated the matter and decided that Zarka’s application for and approval for the job were faultless.