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Ronni Gamzu steps down as head of Tel Aviv’s Ichilov hospital after 7 years at helm

Former Health Ministry director-general and coronavirus czar says he will continue to work on innovation at medical center, hints at running for public office

Prof. Ronni Gamzu director of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center at the annual Jerusalem Conference of the 'Besheva' group in Jerusalem, on March 15, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Prof. Ronni Gamzu director of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center at the annual Jerusalem Conference of the 'Besheva' group in Jerusalem, on March 15, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Ronni Gamzu announced on Wednesday that he was stepping down as director of the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in order to make way for new blood.

Gamzu has led the hospital, also known as Ichilov Hospital, for the past seven years and been a member of its senior management for 20.

In a letter to hospital employees cited by Hebrew media, Gamzu said that “in recent weeks I decided in my heart to step aside from the role of hospital director and enable new and groundbreaking leadership.”

“Public leadership is measured by the ability to give up your place to the next generation even when you feel comfortable and secure,” he wrote. “It is precisely then that a leader is required to allow continuity, while refreshing the management style.”

Gamzu gave no indication as to who would be taking over following his reign.

He noted that he would not be cutting his ties with the hospital, but plans to continue to assist in developing the medical center, including by working on innovation, promoting medical technologies and engaging in international activities.

General view of Ichilov Medical Center in Tel Aviv, on November 10, 2020. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Gamzu also hinted at a possible run for public office, with Hebrew media speculating he has an eye on becoming the next mayor of Tel Aviv.

“I will look at integration in public and business positions — although I have not yet made any decision on the matter,” he wrote.

Six months ago, while recording a podcast with Channel 12 reporter Nadav Perry, Gamzu said he hadn’t ruled out running against veteran Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, but said it was something he was not yet thinking about.

“I am mentioned as such a candidate, and I accept it with great appreciation with a great deal of responsibility,” he said at the time.

Then-coronavirus czar Ronni Gamzu at a meeting of the Knesset’s Labor and Welfare Committee, in Jerusalem, October 19, 2020. (Shmulik Grossman/Knesset)

Before becoming director of the hospital, Gamzu served as director-general of the Health Ministry in 2010-2014; in July 2020 he was appointed national coronavirus czar. He ended that role less than six months later amid reportedly sour relations with the government, at the time led by then prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Gamzu later accused the political leadership of hindering his efforts to confront the pandemic and characterized leaders as “cowards” who were more concerned with optics than substance.

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