Daily Israel Report

Netanyahu's Inaction on Hadassah 'Disappointing'

Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem says political considerations have no place in matters of life and death.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 2/18/2014, 9:27 AM

Kalmanovich with Naftali Bennett
Kalmanovich with Naftali Bennett
PR photo

Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Dov Kalmanovich says he is disappointed by the fact that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has not yet weighed in fully on the crisis facing Hadassah Hospital.

While Netanyahu did address the matter in the Knesset last week, he has not yet tackled the issue personally and appears to be keeping a public distance from it.

Kalmanovich and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat joined striking Hadassah workers in Safra Square on Monday, to express their support for their demands.

He said that the Holy City's residents, who number close to one million, cannot be left without a hospital, and vowed that the Municipality would do all that it can to put pressure on decisionmakers and make sure the employees receive their salaries.

Kalmanovich added that Hadassah costs hundreds of millions of shekels to operate and that it makes sense to appoint a businessman rather than a doctor to run it.

He added that the hospital employees are very dedicated and that the media was wrong in focusing its wrath on senior workers, while ignoring the contribution of the rest of the staff. The employees who deal with maintenance and housekeeping, he stressed, work in shifts and bring home 4,000 or 5,000 shekels.

Kalmanovich himself was hospitalized for six months in Hadassah Ein Karem's burn unit after he was seriously wounded in a terror attack. He spent another six months in Hadassah Mount Scopus's Rehabilitation Unit. He said that while he has thanked the dedicated employees who took care of him then, he had not had a chance to thank all of Hadassah's employees – and he chose to do so Monday.

Netanyahu's relative silence regarding the Hadassah crisis disppoints him, he says, because the matter is one of life and death. “Does a man check his political future vis-a-vis matters of life and death? There are moments in which a person is tested, and these are moments of life and death. And in a moment like this, is people make political considerations, there is a problem in the leadership.”