Barzilai Medical Center

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Barzilai Medical Center
Barzilai Medical Center at night
Palestinian and Israeli families find a shelter in Barzilai hospital during shelling from Grad rockets from the Gaza Strip.
Monument of Husain's Head in the Hospital campus

Barzilai Medical Center (Hebrew: מרכז רפואי ברזילי‎, Merkaz Refu'i Barzilai; Arabic: مركز برزيلاي الطبي‎) is a 617-bed hospital in Ashkelon in southern Israel. The hospital serves a population of 500,000, including a large number of Ethiopian and Russian immigrants, and has more than 100,000 admissions annually.[1] Situated six miles from Gaza, it has been the target of numerous Qassam and Grad rocket attacks, sometimes as many as 140 in one weekend.[1] The hospital plays a vital role in treating wounded soldiers and terror victims.[1]


The hospital opened in July 1961, and was initially named Ashkelon Hospital. Construction was financed by the Ministry of Health with the assistance of the South African Zionist Federation, the Ashkelon municipality and Mifal HaPayis. The building was designed by the architect David Anatol Brutzkus, covering an area of 8,000m². In 1971, it was renamed after Minister of Health Yisrael Barzilai, who had laid the cornerstone of the building in the early 1960s,[2] and who had died the previous year.

Expansion plans[edit]

Plans to build a new rocket and missile-proof emergency room for the hospital had been hampered by ultra-orthodox protests sparked by the discovery of human remains in an ancient burial ground unearthed during construction activities.[3]

Husayn shrine[edit]

The grounds of the hospital contain a shrine that is believed by some Shia Muslims (including the Dawoodi Bohra sect) to have been the burial place of the head of Husayn ibn Ali, a grandson of Muhammad. As a result, the shrine is a pilgrimage site.[4] The site had been marked by Mash'had Nabi Hussein, which was built in the 11th century. However, the structure was destroyed by the Israel Defense Forces in July 1950 under instruction from Moshe Dayan.[5] Around the year 2000, a marble platform was installed at the site by members of an Ismaili sect from central India.[6][5]


  1. ^ a b c Steady rain of missiles strains Israeli hospital Archived 2011-07-22 at the Wayback Machine New Jersey Jewish News, 8 April, 2008
  2. ^ About The Barzilai Medical Center Archived July 28, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Barzilai Medical Center
  3. ^ Don't budge Barzilai bones The Jerusalem Post, 18 March 2010
  4. ^ Prophet's grandson Hussein honoured on grounds of Israeli hospital Reuters, 9 February 2015
  5. ^ a b History Erased Haaretz, 5 July 2007
  6. ^ Sacred surprise behind Israeli hospital Los Angeles Times, 21 May 2008

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°39′45.18″N 34°33′37.88″E / 31.6625500°N 34.5605222°E / 31.6625500; 34.5605222