Netanyahu. Wants to be the one who decides
Photo: Reuters
Barzilai Medical Center. Jewish graves?
Photo: Tzafrir Abayov
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Gabay. Move graves in dignity
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky

Ministers authorize PM to decide on ER relocation

Relocation of Ashkelon hospital's emergency room due to ancient tombs included in cabinet meeting's agenda at last minute. Director-general of Netanyahu's office: We'll make sure graves are moved in honorable manner

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu briefed cabinet ministers on the construction of a fortified emergency room in the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon on Sunday. The ministers approved his request to allow him to decide on the matter on his own.


The issue was included in the cabinet meeting's agenda virtually at the last moment in the backdrop of a government inquiry into the affair.


The prime minister is likely to take the recommendation of Prime Minister's Office Director-General Eyal Gabay and build the emergency room in the designated spot, despite ancient tombs located in the area.


Gabay told Ynet prior to the meeting, "We will make sure that the graves be relocated in an honorable manner." He noted that the intention is not to relocate the emergency room if in fact the graves on the site turn out not to be Jewish.


If Netanyahu indeed decides as planned, NIS 90 million ($24.4 million) be will saved and the ER would be built sooner. Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman said in response, " I don't wish to comment before I hear what the prime minister's intends to do."


Public pressure

Exactly three weeks ago the ministers voted 11:10 in favor of relocating the emergency room due to ancient graves which were discovered and have yet to be verified as Jewish. The vote was held amidst pressure from haredi elements and on the part of Litzman.


It appears the matter will not be put up for a second vote on Sunday, but will be turned over for Netanyahu to decide on.


A committee tasked with examining the matter has been given a month to complete its inquiry. Gabay, who chairs the committee, is slated to present its current findings during the cabinet meeting.


The committee was set up after immense public pressure was put on the Prime Minister's Office following the government vote. Its objective is to explore together with professional elements the possibility of building the emergency room "in a way which will not put human life in jeopardy."


פרסום ראשון: 04.11.10, 11:11
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