During Heavy Rocket Fire, Rivlin Visits Injured at Ashkelon Hospital

Israeli president Reuven Rivlin visits Israelis  hospitalized at Shaarei Tzedek, on October 14, 2015. (Mark Neyman/GPO)

Under heavy rocket fire on Thursday, President Reuven Rivlin visited Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, where he met casualties from the rocket fire who have been hospitalized in the last few days.

“Our heart is with you, and you are in the best possible hands, with medical staff who are doing everything they can,” said the president to the family of an IDF soldier who was injured yesterday by an anti-tank missile. “We are praying together with you and have full faith in the doctors. I am sure you will have good news soon.

The president then spoke with the family of a 90-year-old woman who was injured when her house took a direct hit. “She is a lioness, fighting despite her wonderful age,” the head of the hospital told the president. Her family told him about Soumya Santosh, the caregiver who had looked after their mother and was killed in the attack.

The president also sat with the family of five-year-old Ido Avigal Hy”d, who are by the bed of his mother, Shani, who was gravely injured in the fatal attack on the safe room they were in.

Assaf, Ido’s father, told the president of his concern for his wife, his broken heart at the loss of their son and the terrible pain. The president hugged Assaf and asked him to be strong at this impossible time and promised to be with him in any way needed.

“I am here today on my own, as it were, but believe me that the support of the whole people is with you and the thoughts of us all are with you and the pain of your wonderful family. The loss of Ido is inconceivable, dealing with it along with the unconscionable worry for the rest of the family is so difficult. If only we could make it easier for you.”

Six-year-old Noah, Ido’s cousin, is in the ICU at the hospital. He was also severely injured. “You will get stronger and grow up, my dear one,” promised the president and spoke with his parents about the moments of horror and the terrible trauma.

The president concluded his visit at a meeting with the hospital’s management team in the special situation room that was opened for the duration. During his whole visit, sirens were sounded all the time and the president called on all those at the hospital to stay in their protected areas.

The president was escorted on his visit by Mayor of Ashkelon Tomer Glam and head of Barzilai Medical Center Prof. Yaniv Sherer.

Also on Thursday, the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot has evacuated wards located on the upper floors of its buildings, complying with instructions from the Home Front Command, The Jerusalem Post reported.

All staff and patients have been moved to other facilities. These are wards that contain patients who would be unable to evacuate quickly enough to protected areas in a rocket attack, such as those on respirators.

“The safety of patients and hospital staff is first and foremost top priority in our eyes,” said Kaplan’s Director Dr. Sarit Avishai-Eliner, who added that they began undertaking such precautions earlier in the week, when the rocket attacks started.

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