THE HOSPITAL’S HISTORY


The UN General Assembly’s decision to establish a Jewish state on part of the Land of Israel, left the Western Galilee, with its eight Jewish settlements outside of its borders.  Immediately following the declaration, the Western Galilee fell under siege.  Health problems were not a national priority, due to the fact that the population was relatively young and did  not require special medical services.


However, the subject of childbirth was very developed, and due to the siege, a decision was made by Dr. Biate Davidson Abrahamov, who was pregnant at the time, and Dr. Edmond Winfeld, who was the only doctor for the entire Western Galilee, working half time for Klalit Healthcare Services - to improvise a maternity ward at a pension located above the Nahariya shore. 


While the siege continued, the Haganah command set up a surgical department in another pension on Nahariya’s

Ga’aton Avenue
in order to treat battle victims.

Ga’aton Avenue
in order to treat battle victims.


This department was known as the Military Hospital No. 3 which was in operation until the end of the War of Independence and treated many casualties.  At the end of the war, the army intended to close the hospital, but the Nahariya residents opposed this vehemently.  In a settlement reached by Council Head, Gershon Tach with the IDF, the hospital was transferred to the council, including its equipment and buildings.


In 1950, Dr. Haim Sheba, who served as the Director General of the Ministry of Health, was searching for ways to establish a hospital in barracks for the entire populated geographic region.  In 1951, a special budget was approved for the establishment of 10 barracks in order to establish a hospital in Nahariya, and land was allocated for this purpose.  However, due to a governmental crisis and  replacement of ministers - the program was suspended.  In 1954 , the Health Ministry approached the JDC (
American Joint Distribution Committee) with a request to establish a  hospital, which in turn agreed to build an institution, known as MALBEN to treat Israel’s sick, aged and handicapped immigrants.  This model had been established in other places across the country, which primarily treated people for the European DP Camps, for medical and rehabilitation treatment.  9 Swedish barracks were built and it was operated in this format until the beginning of the 1960s.


In 1957, the Ministry of Healthy assumed responsibility for maintenance of the hospital in Nahariya and turned it into a government hospital.  The MALBEN departments were gradually reduced, and on 10.6.1962, the institution was transferred in its entirety to the Ministry of Health.


In 1967, the hospital was put on alert, as were all of Israel’s hospitals, for a possible war, but when the war broke out, no unusual burden was placed on the hospital and it returned to routine within a short period of time.

The hospital continued to develop and grow, and additional services were established such as neurology, urology and orthopedic departments, a neonatal unit and a child development institute, etc.

During the Yom Kippur War, the hospital was put on immediate alert.  Departments were evacuated, special sites were prepared to receive casualties and doctors were recruited to replace those who were called up to fight.


In 1974, terrorists attacked an elementary school in Ma’alot and the casualties were transferred the hospital in Nahariya.  This was the first multi-casualty incident to be handled not only by the hospital but by the entire health system.  Since that time, Nahariya and the Galilee have experienced dozens of infiltrations, terrorist attacks, Katyusha rockets and mortar shell fire from across the border.  Due to its proximity to the Lebanese border, the staff has learned to mobilize quickly and to work under emergency conditions.  Since 1981, with the outbreak of the First Lebanon War, the hospital has adopted work procedures as a hospital on the confrontation line.


Alongside these work procedures and with the establishment of the new surgical win in 2003, a subterranean hospitalization compound, the first of its kind in Israel, was built that served the residents, patients and staff during the 33 days of the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006.  During the course of that war, the hospital admitted the largest number of casualties, both civilians and soldiers.  Of the 1,872 casualties, 300 were soldiers.


The hospital invests enormous efforts in immigrant absorption and activity with Diaspora Jewry.  It was one of the first to offer training courses for nurses of Ethiopian extraction.  Courses were also offered to prepare immigrant doctors pass their licensing exams and to learn the Hebrew language.  Over the years, the hospital has developed and advanced and it is the leader in many fields.


Since the end of the 1980s, the hospital has adopted the TQM Program for total quality management in all of its departments.  In 1996, it was the first and only hospital to be certified by the Israel Standards Institute with ISO 9000 certification.  In 1995, it won the Yitzchak Rabin National Award for Quality in the Public Sector, in the health field.  In 1996, it won first place in the Beautiful Israeli Hospital competition and in 2009, it won the Yitzchak Rabin National Award for Excellence in Process Management, in the health organizations category.