Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara on Tuesday morning attended the dedication of a medical emergency care center in Kiryat Shemona. The PM, his wife, and Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) toured the facility and participated in the unveiling – the PM affixed the mezuzah.
Netanyahu mentioned the passing on Tuesday morning of his attorney, the late Yaakov Weinroth, who died of cancer at age 71. “We are all susceptible to disease and we all need medical care, help and support,” Netanyahu mused. “I think that this is the meaning of what we are doing here today, which is truly a day of joy mixed with sadness, but a day of joy.”
“I would like to say something about the idea that every Israeli citizen, everywhere, in the center or in what is called the periphery—a term we are working to eliminate—every Israeli deserves the best care, the very best, and I know that it is very important to Deputy Minister Litzman, as it is to me.”
Throughout his speech, Netanyahu was being heckled incessantly by a woman from Kiryat Shmona who kept demanding to know why the city’s emergency care unit had been removed five years ago – even as the PM was proudly celebrating the new facility. Eventually, Netanyahu lost his cool—which may attest to his emotional state in the face of harsh criticism from the left, as well as exhaustive police investigations of corruption charges against him.
Finally, Netanyahu snapped at the woman: “You’re not interesting, you’re boring us, come up with interesting things.”
Needless to say, the snap response took over the morning headlines across Israel’s media, all of whom mentioned only in passing that the heckler (a Likud voter) had been at it for the entire ceremony, with strong rebuke from the audience, and the fact that Netanyahu was there to correct the five-year wrong she was protesting.
“The emergency room that we are dedicating today is a very significant addition to Kiryat Shmona and its environs, and I know how long you have waited for this moment, I did, too, and also Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, and [Kiryat Shmona Mayor] Nissim Malka, and I thank you, and you my dear friends. You didn’t stop insisting or demanding, and we said: ‘We need to get going. We are also, in effect, taking axes and hacking at the jungle,'” the PM said.
“2,700 years ago, the prophet Jeremiah (8:22) asked: ‘Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of the daughter of my nation not recovered?'” Netanyahu noted and concluded: “Today we respond: there are physicians across from Gilead, and there are doctors in the Galilee panhandle, and there is excellent medical care in Israel, in all parts of Israel. Congratulations to Kiryat Shemona and the neighboring councils and most important – good health to you and all citizens of Israel.”