One year ago, on July 8, 2014, Israel’s defensive Gaza war, Operation Protective Edge began. During the 50 days of fighting, few regions from central Israel to the South escaped the sound of blaring sirens urging citizens to run to their bomb shelters.
With the war taking place in Israel’s southern region, the entire Negev in particular was subjected to heavy barrages of rocket fire from Gaza. Soroka Medical Center, in Beer-Sheva, became the main treatment center for the injured and traumatized. “Our staff worked around the clock to save lives.” recalled Orna Myara, Director of External Affairs and Friends of Soroka Medical Center.
The Israeli Defense Ministry has just released the statistics concerning IDF soldiers hurt during this war. 322 IDF soldiers have been recognized as disabled war veterans from fighting during Operation Protective Edge with more than half considered seriously injured.
The IDF Rehabilitative unit will do its best to treat, both physically and emotionally, these soldiers. Soroka Medical Center is a key player in this process.
As Soroka is the second largest hospital in Israel and the only one in the Negev, it provides annually over one million residents of this region medical care. During last summer’s war, their resources were stretched to their maximum capacity.
“We are located on Israel’s southern front,” Myara noted, “This area is under constant threat and has a history of being hit with missile attacks.”
Though all are grateful that there is population growth in the area as well as the recent move of IDF bases to the Negev, these additions bring with them the challenge of quality health care. The most conservative forecast for population growth in Beer-Sheva and its environs is a projected increase of 30% by 2020.
During Operation Protective Edge, while Israel’s Iron Dome defense system received praises from the Israeli population for the protection that it provided, Soroka Medical Center gained its own nickname, “Israel’s Iron Dome for Health.”
With Hamas proudly reporting to Iranian television that new terror tunnels have been constructed into Israel and ISIS advancing towards Israel’s borders, this region’s hospitals are on constant high alert for the inevitable.
One of Soroka’s main new projects, for which they are seeking funding, is the enlargement of the facilities for the Emergency Medicine Department and the Trauma Unit.
Since learning of their vital role in Operation Protective Edge, LIBI USA has committed to donating funds to benefit the Soroka Medical Center. With the continuous news reports reminding everyone that Israel’s enemies have not yet given up their pursuit of its destruction, LIBI has increased its efforts to raise additional, much needed monies for the benefit of Soroka.
“Soroka Medical Center was the safe landing ground for injured IDF soldiers and Israeli citizens during Operation Protective Edge,” shared Dr. John A.I. Grossman, LIBI USA Chairman. “We have an obligation to help Soroka treat their patients in the highest level possible.”
Myara related, “Our hospital always does its best to offer quality treatment to its patients. The 2014 summer military operation made it clearer than ever that we need additional funding to enable us to meet all challenges that the future will unfortunately bring in our unstable part of the world.”