A Shared Past
The Bnai Zion Medical Center, a regional medical care facility, has been treating the population of Haifa and Northern Israel, Jews, Druze, Muslim and Christian Arabs and Baha'is alike for nearly 100 years. Its history is closely intertwined with the city itself.
Haifa's First Jewish Hospital 1922 - 1932
Established in 1922 by the Hadassah Medical Organization as the first and only Jewish hospital in the city, its beginning was modest: 36 beds in
a rented building.
Ten years later, as agreed, the hospital was turned over to the Haifa Jewish
Funds were scarce since no assistance was provided by either the British
Mandatory Government of Palestine or from abroad.
Expansion Begins 1942
Population growth and its resulting demand for medical services motivated
construction of a new building in 1942. The hospital became known as the Rothschild Hospital, in honor of the family's donation of land and funds for the construction.
It included 85 beds, three departments and a laboratory.
In 1946 the school of nursing opened. The rented space was thus freed to serve
as a Maternity Ward and in times of heightened need, a center for additional services.
These included caring for illegal immigrants who continued to bypass the British Port Authority at the Haifa Port. Being the only Jewish
hospital in the city, it also treated the wounded of the underground organizations,
Haganah, Etzel and Lechi.
Independence and Immigration 1948 - 1967
During the War of Independence, the Rothschild Hospital was the only medical facility in Haifa available to treat the wounded and infirm Jewish population and soldiers.
In 1949 management of the Rothschild Hospital was turned over to the
Haifa Municipality. Another floor was soon added to relieve crowded
conditions. Gradually, the hospital developed into
an internationally recognized institute of medicine, providing modern services for
what became a 330 bed hospital in 1967.
It was then became a joint government-municipal hospital.
In 1966 the government took over financing municipal hospitals.
In 1975 the hospital was transferred to governmental ownership, and today,
the staff are municipal employees.
Since the establishment of the Faculty of Medicine at the Technion
(Israel Institute of Technology) in 1969, the hospital has been affiliated with it
and functions as a university teaching hospital.
Planning the West Wing 1972
In 1972 overcrowded conditions were becoming increasingly detrimental
to the patients' welfare, as well as a desire to implement new medical techniques,
led to the hospital's expansion. These new facilities would double the facility's size.
The cornerstone of the new west wing was laid in 1973. Unfortunately, a few days
after work began, the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War halted all construction.
In addition, the high inflation rate and immense defense budget resulted in a severe
economic recession in Israel and forced the government to significantly reduce its
aid to public institutions, including hospitals.
Despite the setbacks the first stage was completed in 1978. In 1982 the
Emergency Room reopened and in 1984 the first department, Orthopedics,
was transferred to its new location in the west wing.
In 1985 construction was stopped due to a lack of funds.
Hospital Renamed Bnai Zion Medical Center 1988
In 1987 the Bnai Zion Foundation (USA) made a commitment to raise the necessary funds for the completion of the west wing project. In October 1988 the hospital was renamed the Bnai Zion Medical Center in honor of Bnai Zion's 80th anniversary.
Since then most of the clinical departments, laboratories and facilities have moved into the new west wing.
Because of the medical center's high standards and the excellence of its service and staff, it has been designated an official military hospital for the State of Israel.
In several surveys conducted by the Israel's Health Insurance industry the
Bnai Zion Medical Center was voted the leading medical facility in Northern Israel.
Patients have praised the medical staff's professionalism, admission procedures
and bedside manners, and recognize the Bnai Zion Medical Center as one of Israel's most outstanding hospitals.
The hospital has won the highly regarded "Eretz Yisrael Yaffa" ("Beautiful Israel")
Award every year for the past few years.
This honor reflects several criteria, including cleanliness and the staff's consideration of and sensitivity to the needs of the patients and their families.
Into the Future
In order to maintain its leadership position on the vanguard of Israeli medical care,
the Bnai Zion Medical Center has undertaken an aggressive strategy of continuing
growth. This will be accomplished through a carefully planned building and
departmental renovation, made possible in large part through the ongoing support
of people like you.