Helicopters patrolling Jerusalem
Helicopters patrolling JerusalemFlash 90

Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman (UTJ) on Sunday evening demanded Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu dedicate a helicopter to flying patients from Eilat to Tel Aviv, Israel Hayom reported.

"Following the closure of Sde Dov, there is a need, and the cases are urgent, such as catheterization and premature births. This aid will save lives, and it cannot be provided by the limited health services in Yoseftal Hospital," Litzman wrote.

Litzman also noted that today, Magen David Adom helicopters come from an airfield near Be'er Sheva, but only when they are not already tied up with other emergencies. These helicopters take approximately half an hour to arrive in central Israel, but can only land outside Eilat, in Kibbutz Yotvata.

"In order to ensure that in a medical emergency, Eilat residents and tourists will always have access to the best life-saving medical care, we must dedicate a helicopter for the purpose of evacuating Eilat patients," he added.

"It is our responsibility to provide adequate solutions for every single citizen in the State of Israel, even if he chose to live in a city 230 kilometers (143 miles) from the nearest adequate medical center. We must ensure that Eilat residents know that in the case of a medical emergency, there is someone who can provide them with aid, and within a reasonable time."

According to Israel Hayom, such a helicopter would cost the State 8 million shekel ($2,236,000) annually, as well as an additional one-time outlay of 5 million shekel ($1,397,500) for a civilian landing pad.

In 2018, Eilat saw over 60 helicopter evacuations, and the estimates for 2019 stand at more than 100.