Israel is known throughout the world as a global leader in many important fields including technology, medicine and agriculture. What many people don’t know is that many of Israel’s innovations and inventions were born out of the country’s unique and unrelenting security challenges.
A shining example of this is the world’s largest underground hospital that stands on the campus of the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. Originally built for use in wartime, the structure has recently been transformed into a facility that exclusively cares for Israel’s COVID-19 patients, giving them better and faster care and helping Israel to more efficiently combat the pandemic.
This Wednesday, December 23rd, Israel365 together with the American Friends of Rambam Medical Center will present an exclusive virtual tour of this unique facility offering a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of how the medical staff at Rambam can convert a parking garage into a fully functional hospital in just hours.
Underground Rambam Medical Center: Battlefront of Israel’s Fight Against COVID-19 is scheduled for Wednesday, December 23rd at 1:00 PM EST (6:00 PM London and 8:00 PM Jerusalem). For the Zoom link to participate click here. There is no cost to attend and you will be amazed at what you learn!
The Rambam Medical Center, named after the famed medieval Jewish scholar, philosopher and physician, Maimonides, referred to as “Rambam” in Hebrew, is located just a short walk from the beautiful Mediterranean Sea in downtown Haifa. The northern city is nown for its peaceful coexistence between its Jewish, Christian and Muslim residents, but it is also the site of Israel’s sensitive port, and a target of Hezbollah missiles stationed along the nearby Lebanese border just 40 kilometers (24 miles) away.
Underneath its medical campus stands the Sammy Ofer Underground Emergency Hospital, built in 2014 in response to years of rocket attacks against Israel by terrorist organizations just over its borders. This has forced Israel to create a medical solution that is safe and protected even during wartime and waves of terror.
During peaceful times, the three levels of the underground hospital at Rambam are used as a much needed parking garage for the medical center’s staff and patients. But if and when necessary, the facility can be transformed in less than 72 hours to a fully operating hospital with 2000 hospital beds. This incredible ability provides protection to staff and patients against missile threats as well as chemical and biological weapons due its ceiling and walls being made of poured concrete that are many meters thick.
In September of this past year is when the underground hospital was activated as a center to care for Israel’s citizens, mostly from the north of Israel, stricken with the Coronavirus.
Israel365 tour guide Akiva Gersh recently visited the underground hospital.
“Seeing the staff transform from ordinary doctors wearing white coats to front line medical workers covered head to toe in PPE protective gear crystallized for me the danger of this virus,” said Gersh. “The sacrifice these medical practitioners make every time they step into the sealed-off wards to care for those sick with COVID-19 is overwhelming. Watching these heroes descend in the elevators to the underground facility and then seeing them on the screens in the central command room visiting their patients was very powerful and moving.”
Rambam has always been a favorite cause in the Christian Zionist community for their life-saving efforts that highlight Biblical values. Debbie Hemstreet, Christian Friends of Rambam Representative, who lives in Israel, explained,
“In addition to the technological innovations at Rambam, the diversity and respect amongst the staff and patients is one of the most encouraging things I’ve seen in my professional and personal life. When you join us to explore the Rambam medical campus you will realize that you are visiting a very, very special place.”
Rambam Medical Center: Battlefront of Israel’s Fight Against COVID-19 is scheduled for Wednesday, December 23rd at 1:00 PM EST (6:00 PM London and 8:00 PM Jerusalem). For the Zoom link to participate click here. There is no cost to attend.