The Bikur Holim hospital in downtown Jerusalem, a venerable institution whose roots lie in the early 19th century, is to cease operating as an independent entity and will merge with another facility in the capital, the Health Ministry announced.
The hospital, which is known for its busy maternity ward, for its service to the capital’s ultra-Orthodox population and for treating many victims of terrorist attacks in central Jerusalem, has faced financial difficulty for years. In November, a general strike was called over unpaid wages, and staff only received half-salaries in December.
The hospital employs some 600 people, including 140 doctors. As part of the closing agreement, all staff are to be laid off, but 360 of those are to be rehired by Shaare Zedek Medical Center, also in Jerusalem.
The Israel Medical Association said Sunday that it would attempt to find positions at other hospitals for the remaining staff members.
Bikur Holim was originally established in 1826 in what is now considered the Old City of Jerusalem. The building in the current location on Strauss Street in downtown Jerusalem opened its doors in 1925.
The hospital was saved from near bankruptcy in 2007 by Israeli-Russian businessman Arkady Gaydamak, but he stopped the funding in 2010 when he returned to Russia. Since then, the hospital has struggled financially.
Asher Zeigler contributed to this report.