The Magen David Adom emergency services organization said Monday it had secured an additional $10 million in funding for Israel’s new state-of-the-art national blood services center.
The massive $130 million project will make Israel the only nation in the world with an underground blood bank, safe from missiles, chemical and biological attacks and earthquakes.
The six-story facility is being built in the central city of Ramle and is set to be completed this spring.
The matching grant announced Monday came from the Marcus Foundation, named for Bernard Marcus, a US billionaire of Home Depot fame, and his wife, Billi. The couple previously donated $25 million to the project in 2016 before construction began.
Israel’s blood supply is currently processed and stored at a facility in Ramat Gan’s Sheba Medical Center that is unprotected from attacks and disasters. The labs, blood storage and donor rooms are precariously surrounded by windows.
The facility, which is the nation’s only blood bank and processing center, is also bursting at the seams. The complex was built in 1985 to serve a population of 5 million, but today Israel’s population is over 9 million people, and is expected to grow to 15 million by 2048.
The current blood center thus lacks the capacity to process all of the blood the country needs for surgeries and medical treatment, let alone in times of emergency. Its labs are cluttered with instruments and are not set up to support all of the technology it requires, including for protection from a cyber-attack.
The new 5.43-acre facility in Ramle, some 20 miles southeast of Tel Aviv, will consist of six floors, an adjacent MDA logistics center, and parking spaces for bloodmobiles, ambulances and donors.
The top three floors will hold rooms for blood donations, a training center and the facility’s administrative center. The lower three floors, underground, will be protected by special shielding to specifications from the Home Front Command and the National Security Agency; it is here that the blood will be stored and processed.