At the same time, a Clalit Sick Fund clinic was opened in
The first residents of the city at this time were mainly IDF
veterans, but during the 1950s, a flood of thousands of new immigrants arrived.
The difficulties of their absorption and their special health needs presented a
challenge to the existing hospitalization services, which were quickly becoming
unable to meet the needs of the growing population of the largest region of the
country. At the end of 1952, Beer-Sheva's population was approximately 14,500,
and the entire population of the South was approximately 26,000. The
hospitalization capacity of the hospital increased to only 50 beds, and a
solution was urgently needed.
Fortunately, the late Moshe Soroka, administrative
director of Clalit Health Services, had the vision early on to see that the
Negev was on the verge of rapid development and growth and so needed a major
change in terms of hospitalization capacity. He was the guiding force behind the
establishment of the new hospital, which was seen as a national security
priority, especially following the Kadesh Campaign. Despite resistance by the
late Prime Minister
David Ben-Gurion and the Minister of Health, who felt
that the government and not Clalit Sick Fund should establish the hospital,
building commenced in the summer of 1956. Three years later, in October 1959,
the opening ceremony was held in the presence of many honored guests from Israel
and abroad. Ben-Gurion made an official visit to the hospital six months later
and approved the placement of his bust in the entrance hall of the hospital.
The dream of the Central Hospital of the Negev
had become a reality.