Israel is about to build its first rocket-proof children's hospital.
The Center for Children's Health, to be part of the Ziv Medical Center (Rebecca Sieff Hospital) in Tzfat (Safed), will be tailor-made to the specifications of the Home Front Command. A new medical school has just opened up right next door, linked to Bar Ilan University.
It is also the country's first hospital for children to be established in the periphery of the country, at a cost of some NIS 83 million.
The complex will stretch over 6,000 square meters, and will be comprised of four floors, including an intensive care unit, pediatric emergency room, children's inpatient units and clinics.
Ziv Medical Center Director Dr. Oscar Ambon said the new Center for Children's Health will coordinate all medical services for children under one roof and provide pediatric services at the highest standard to the entire population of the Galilee and the Golan Heights.
"We aim to compare the medical conditions in the far north with those provided in the center of the country, and a dedicated center for children is a fundamental requirement for this," Ambon said.
"We are very pleased that construction has begun, and appreciate the efforts of the Health Ministry to join us in changing the status of medicine in the periphery, and helping to transform vision into action."
Architects Weinstein and Vaadia are responsible for planning the complex, which is to be integrated with its surroundings in such a way that its young patients will be able to maximize their healing through being able to view the spectacular scenery and gardens outside.
The hospital itself is located at the bottom of Tzfat, and serves the entire population of the Upper Galilee and the northern Golan Heights. A government-funded public general hospital, the 310-bed facility also serves as a regional trauma center in case of accidents, natural disaster, terror attacks and war.
During the 2006 Second Lebanon War, the hospital was repeatedly targeted in Katyusha rocket attacks by the Lebanon-based Hizbullah terrorist organization. One missile scored a direct hit on the hospital which caused damage to the infrastructure. That attack also injured five patients, two doctors and two other members of the staff.
More than 1,500 casualties were treated during the war, including 288 IDF soldiers and 125 civilians who required hospitalization.
As a result, the new facility will be built in accordance with Home Front Command-standard reinforced concrete, with the north wall, facing Lebanon, to be 60 centimeters thick (23.6 inches).
In addition, the building will feature an emergency ventilation system that will automatically seal the windows and provide filtered air to the unit, in the event of an outbreak of chemical warfare.
The new building is expected to be ready for occupancy within the next three years.