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.

Barzilai Medical Center (Hebrew: מרכז רפואי ברזילי‎, Merkaz Refu'i Barzilai) 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.

In August 2015 protests were held outside Barzilai after Mohammed 'Allan, a Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike, was moved to the hospital. His move followed the passing of a new law that allowed for the force-feeding of prisoners whose lives are at risk. However, doctors at the hospital were said to be strongly opposed to force-feeding,[3] and 'Allan was released shortly afterwards.[4]

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.[5]


External links[edit]

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