Barzilai Medical Center
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. 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. The hospital plays a vital role in treating wounded soldiers and terror victims.
The hospital opened in July 1961, and was initially named Ashkelon Hospital. Part of its site was previously Hussein ibn Ali's eleventh century mosque, a center of Muslim pilgrimage destroyed by the Israeli army in 1950. 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, 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, and 'Allan was released shortly afterwards.
Plans to build a new rocket and missile-proof emergency room for the hospital have been hampered by ultra-orthodox protests sparked by the discovery of human remains in an ancient burial ground unearthed during construction activities.
- Steady rain of missiles strains Israeli hospital New Jersey Jewish News, 8 April, 2008
- History Erased Haaretz, 5 July 2007
- About The Barzilai Medical Center Barzilai Medical Center
- Arab, Jewish protesters clash outside Ashkelon hospital Ynetnews, 13 August 2015
- Palestinian hunger striker Mohammad Allan back in Israeli detention CNN, 16 September 2015
- Don't budge Barzilai bones The Jerusalem Post, 18 March 2010
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