Ziv Medical Center
Photo: Avihu Shapira
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Deputy Defense Minister Vilna'i
Photo: Gil Yohanan
'Defense Ministry to fortify Safed hospital'
Heads of local councils in northern Israel say Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna'i promised them ministry would find suitable financing in order to fortify Ziv Medical Center
The Defense Ministry will help findis financing for the construction of bomb shelters at the Ziv Medical Center in Safed, local council heads said following a meeting with ministry representatives, including Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna'i.


A previous government decision ruled that the Safed hospital, which was hit by Katyusha rockets during the Second Lebanon War, will not be fortified.


Several months ago, the government declared that following the war, a decision was made to fortify seven medical centers in the north. The Ziv Medical Center was absent from the list, causing a lot of anger among the hospital's management and local residents.


The hospital's Friends Association chairman told Ynet about the agreements reached during the meeting.


"Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna'i, who was put in charge of the handling of the home front, noted that he would focus on the construction of bomb shelters and reinforced areas for the Galilee's residents.


"As a military official, Vilna'i is aware of the importance of our front hospital, and at the first stage he promised to assist in the building of bomb shelters in the hospital, while locating and raising funds for its fortification.


"Today only the new emergency room is fortified. The other departments, like the delivery rooms, the intensive care unit, and the pediatric unit, are exposed to fire and deadly hits like the ones we experienced during the last war."


More than 900 people who were lightly to seriously wounded by Katyusha rockets were treated in the Ziv Medical Center during the Second Lebanon War, as well as dozens of soldiers stationed in the north and in Lebanon. The medical crew treated the injured in unfortified departments which were exposed to the Hizbullah fire.


On Friday, hospital officials expressed their hope that the situation would indeed change in the near future following the meeting with Vilna'i.


Aharon Valensi, head of the Upper Galilee Regional Council, said at the end of the meeting, "As part of the recent change in the Israeli government's policy toward the eastern Galilee and its residents, we were notified that a medical schools would be built in the area and now that the Ziv Medical Center in Safed will receive funds.


"I welcome the fact that things have started moving in the offices in Jerusalem, and this is expected to change the situation of the Galilee's residents, who are still experiencing last summer's events."


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