Deputy health minister’s battle over relocating ER described as an "error" that "turned an entire nation against us."
By JONAH MANDEL
Haredi online media outlets lambasted deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman Wednesday for the public outcry resulting from the delay in construction of a rocket-proof emergency room.Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is apparently leaning toward retracting the cabinet decision from two weeks ago to shift the location of the proposed reinforced emergency room for Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center, following the public uproar and the recommendation of his office’s director-general, who reevaluated a cabinet decision to relocate the emergency room due to graves found at the site.Meanwhile, haredi online media outlets are expressing discontent over what is being described as an unnecessary battle that caused immense damage to the ultra-orthodox sector.Litzman, a Gur Hassid from United Torah Judaism, had threatened to resign if the facility were not built on the distant parking lot instead of the nearby plot chosen four years ago. In a Tuesday meeting between Litzman and Netanyahu, the premier reportedly insinuated that the ER would indeed be built on the original site.“Litzman received the backing of the haredi dailies in the form of their silence,” said a fiery opinion piece in the online Kikar Hashabat on Wednesday, and “aggressively and disgracefully exploited his power in a way that turned the entire nation against us... it is not the honor of the dead at stake here, but solely that of the deputy minister,” whose insistence “to safeguard the graves, while it was clear to [Litzman] and anyone who dealt with the topic that there is no halachic, ethical or moral problem, has brought a holocaust upon our heads that will take many years to amend.”The Hadrei Haredim Web site also noted “the enormity of Litzman’serror,” which caused “horrible damage,” citing the “professionalfactors [who] proved that there are no Jewish graves” at the site, andnoting that while Litzman’s fellow MKs in UTJ are compelled to supporthim, they are doing so “without much joy.”The haredi portalLada’at expounded on what is shaping into a serious political blow toLitzman, noting that “despite the support [Litzman] is receiving in hisfaction, not all members hold the same belligerent position whichcreated this situation.”AdvertisementAccording to Lada’at, “Senior factorsin UTJ reiterated that despite the backing they gave Litzman, theydon’t intend on quitting the coalition,” citing unnamed party membersas saying that “[Litzman] will have to find the way to [back down fromhis demands], and obviously we won’t all pay the price.”
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