Dudu Zilbershlag suspected of embezzling from Bikur Holim

Chairman of board of capital’s Bikur Holim Hospital allegedly funneled into his own pockets tens of thousands of shekels in donations meant for hospital.

DUDI ZILBERSHLAG 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The chairman of the board of the capital’s Bikur Holim Hospital is suspected of funneling to his own pockets tens of thousands of shekels in donations meant for the hospital, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
According to documents from the Justice Ministry’s registrar of nonprofit organizations, following a fund-raising drive in Germany in 2008, Dudu Zilbershlag allegedly altered four checks worth a total of NIS 121,600, writing himself as the beneficiary and depositing the money in his personal account.
Zilbershlag, a well-known journalist and businessman in the Haredi community, also serves as the chairman of the board of the ZAKA rescue and recovery organization.
Because of a string of suspected violations, including those allegedly involving Zilbershlag, the Nonprofits Authority has ruled that Bikur Holim‘s nonprofit association (amuta), which collects donations and runs its voluntary activities, cannot currently receive a permit to continue operations.
Most of Bikur Holim was bought by Israeli-Russian billionaire Arkadi Gaydamak in 2007.
Recently, Gaydamak has made efforts to sell his ownership of the hospital, following a string of financial problems he suffered after leaving Israel nearly two years ago.
Jerusalem’s oldest hospital (it first opened in a residential building in the Old City in 1826), Bikur Holim has suffered from financial problems and worker disputes in recent years, but was saved after Gaydamak bought it from a state-appointed liquidator. It is the only facility of its kind in the center of Jerusalem, and today has 900 staff members and has a capacity of 200 beds.
The hospital is also unique in Israel because it is not entirely privatized. A significant portion remains nonprofit and was not available for purchase by Gaydamak.
The Nonprofits Authority is also probing whether Zilbershlag’s salary at Bikur Holim was illegally inflated. Over the past two years, he received NIS 105,000 per year, the maximum salary that the head of a nonprofit is allowed to receive by law. The maximum salary is only available if the organization does not have a general manager at the time, but over the past two years, Bikur Holim did have a general manager.
If a nonprofit organization has a general manager, the most its chairman can be paid is NIS 73,505 a year.
In addition, Zilbershlag allegedly authorized the use of NIS 20,000 of funds from Bikur Holim’s amuta for himself each month.
Zilbershlag was out of the country on Wednesday and was unable to comment on the particulars of the allegations against him. A PR company issued a statement on behalf of Zilbershlag and the amuta saying, “The issue is undergoing an examination by the relevant authorities and the hospital is confident that that the allegations constitute a baseless campaign of defamation and slander. The authorities’ conclusions will show this to be the case.”