Israel will set up a field hospital in Ukraine next week as part of its humanitarian aid to the embattled country, the Health Ministry announced Saturday.
The facility will be operated by the Sheba Medical Center, Clalit Health Services, and medical staff from other hospitals, according to the Health Ministry.
The hospital will include wards for children and adults, an emergency room, a delivery room, and a primary care clinic.
Representatives from the Foreign Ministry will also join the delegation.
Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz clarified last week that the hospital will be managed and manned exclusively by civilians.
“We do not intend to send soldiers to Ukraine,” he said during a radio interview last week. (In the past, field hospitals at disaster sites have sometimes been manned by troops from the Home Front Command.)
The Health Ministry did not specify where in the country the hospital will be set up, but Channel 12 news reported it will be in the western city of Lviv.
“We are performing our moral duty, increasing humanitarian aid and extending assistance to the Ukrainian people,” Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said in a statement.
He added: “The Health Ministry and the State of Israel are clearly on the side of the Ukrainian people; we will continue to help as much as necessary to save the lives of citizens whose world has been destroyed in an instant.”
“This is our personal, professional, and national duty towards every person as a person,” said Sheba Medical Center director Prof. Yitzhak Kreiss.
“We have the means and the ability and we must not stand back.”
Israel already sent a 100-ton humanitarian aid package last week. The aid included 17 tons of medical equipment and medicine; water purification systems intended to supply 200,000 people; emergency water supply kits to supply 100,000 people; winter tents to house 3,000; 15,000 blankets; 3,000 sleeping bags; and 2,700 winter coats.
Israel has been turning down requests to send military or dual-use equipment to Ukraine, part of the tightrope it has tried to walk to balance its interests between Ukraine and Russia, which invaded its neighbor, a former Soviet state, earlier this month.
Russia maintains a military presence in Syria, Israel’s northern and bellicose neighbor. The need to balance security interests at home and policy abroad has produced a relatively restrained response from the Israeli government, which has tried to maintain good relations with both Moscow and Kyiv. PJC