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Hadassah in negotiations to open hospital in Dubai

Head of Jerusalem medical center says proposal could turn Hadassah into a ‘medical power in the UAE,’ denies using talks to leverage funds from Finance Ministry

Prof. Zeev Rotstein, CEO of Hadassah Hospital, speaks during a press conference to introduce the new medical team at the hospital's hemato-oncology department,  June 13, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90/File)
Prof. Zeev Rotstein, CEO of Hadassah Hospital, speaks during a press conference to introduce the new medical team at the hospital's hemato-oncology department, June 13, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90/File)

Hadassah Medical Center is holding talks to open a hospital in Dubai, the Israeli hospital’s head said Monday, following the agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates to normalize diplomatic ties.

Confirming a report that he was in Dubai last week, Zeev Rotstein hailed the offer to build a hospital in Dubai, but stressed negotiations were still at an early stage.

“This proposal is a revolution — to establish Hadassah Hospital as a medical power in the United Arab Emirates,” he told the Kan public broadcaster.

According to Kan, Hadassah would receive significant funds under the proposal, which would see some doctors and research departments moved from Jerusalem to Dubai.

Israeli firefighter wearing protective clothes disinfects the entrance of the emergency of Hadassah Ein Karem hospital in Jerusalem on March 22, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

“My success is the success of Hadassah in Jerusalem, but it could very well be that the government or Finance Ministry thinks that Hadassah is something superfluous in the country,” Rotstein said. “It could be that this [medical] center, which includes the best doctors I know, will find itself in another place.”

His comments came as Hadassah deals with a budget crunch that has been made worse by the coronavirus pandemic, with the hospital seeking funds from the government to plug the gap.

Rotstein denied using the offer from Dubai as leverage in talks with the Finance Ministry.

“The Treasury needs to decide if it’s interested in the continue existence of Hadassah as a leading hospital in Israel or not. If not, then we need to look for alternatives. My hope is that Hadassah stays in Jerusalem and that we won’t need to go elsewhere,” he said.

On Sunday, the cabinet ratified the normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE, which was signed by the two countries during a ceremony last month at the White House. The treaty will enter into force as soon as the government in Abu Dhabi ratifies the agreement as well, which it is expected to do soon.

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