The Barzilai Medical Center- History
In the early 50's, the population in the area of Ashkelon (or Majdal, its Arabic name), has grown significantly and the shortage in health care services was well noticed. The shortage in hospitals was a nation-wide phenomenon, thus government hospitals were founded in the abandoned bases of the British army.
The Ashkelon Hospital (now the Barzilai Medical Center), or the Ashkelon Health Unit, as it was called in 1961, was designed in the 50's and has operated between the years 1961-1971 in three phases. When established, the unit served the population of the Ashkelon district (Lachish area).
The Barzilai Medical Center- History
The ceremony of laying the cornerstone was held in the presence of the Minister of Health at that time- Israel Barzilai
The construction was financed by the Ministry of Health with the aid of the Zionist South-African Federation, the city of Ashkelon, and the Pais Project.
About 400,00 Liras were used for equipment and another 2 million in construction. In addition to the Sout-African Jewry, a very generous donation of $120,000 was received from the Menashe David family that originated from Baghdad.
The buildings were designed by the architect Brotzkos, as one story scattered structures, with roof-tiles, on an area of 8000 sq m.
The medical center's method of operation was based on principles that were common in the post WWII era: Concentrating all the health care services given to the public under one roof, and an integrated management of the hospitalization and public health care services.
On July 20th, 1961, the hospital was inaugurated in the presence of President Yitzhak Ben-Tzvi and the Minister of Health Israel Barzilai.
In Consideration with the hardships of the population at that time, the pediatric and obstetrics departments began operating first, in addition to 15 beds for the IDF's use.
Dr. Michael Lavih, a medical officer in the air-force was appointed as the director of the institution. Alongside of him worked Dr. Peter Adiel-Vardi as the head of the Pediatrics Department, and Dr. Tibor Vago as the head of the Obstetrics Ward. Six other physicians joined them. Nurse Nelly Levy was appointed as the head nurse of the hospital, and Bat-Sheva Levy was in charge of all health care issues. Yosef Harari was appointed as the first administrative director.
Between the years 1961-1966 the number of beds grew up to 150, and new departments were founded- Surgery, Internal Medicine and Orthopedics. This development enabled the hospital to absorb in the days of the Six Day War hundreds of injured soldiers of Division 11 of the Paratroopers and Armory- who fought in the Rafah area.
In the end of 1966 the Nursing School was opened.
In 1968 the Barzilai Medical Center Supporters Foundation was established, which united the regional cities and settlements, and a number of public figures. The foundation's goal was and still is to raise funds and locate donors in order to expand the services, purchase equipments, and thus complement the budget from the Ministry of Health.
In March 20th, 1971, upon the death of the former Minister of Health, Israel Barzilai, the institution's name was changed to Barzilai Medical Center
The Barzilai Medical Center integrates all the regional health services in the area. Its location in the heart of the city of Ashkelon helps in maintaining the direct and hearty connection with the local and regional population.
The Barzilai Medical Center unites the inpatient services with healthcare services. The Hospital director also serves as the regional officer of the public health office. The residents in the community enjoy the benefits of this integration in such a way that all the medical and health needs, from childhood to adulthood, are located in one place.
The Ashkelon Hospital (now the Barzilai Medical Center) was designed to serve the population of the Ashkelon district area. This area now lies between Ashdod in the north, Kiryat-Gat and Kiryat Malachi in the east, Sederot in the south and Ashkelon in the west, including all settlements in the periphery.
Number of hospital beds
567 hospital beds
60 day care beds
40 neonates cradles
Internal Medicine Division
Lab Division with 24 hours lab service
Ultrasonography - 24 hours a day
Computed Tomography - 24 hours a day
Radiography with or without contrast material
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Wireless Capsule Endoscopy
IInnovative Developments in the Medical Center
An endoscopic micro-system to diagnose and treat diseases of the salivary glands. This unique equipment to examine and operate on the salivary glands has been developed by Prof. Oded Nahlieli, Head of the Department for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in Barzilai Medical Center.
The equipment includes a miniature-sized camera (1mm) and an array of equipment to examine the gland and remove the stones and blocks from within the salivary gland. The operation is performed under local anesthesia and the patient is released to his home a short while after performing the operation.