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The Gour Shasha Hospital Tower in Israel

By Ilana Avissar

Over 1 million people visit the Rabin Medical Centre (RMC) in Petach Tikva, Israel every year. Now, after much hard work, a striking new tower, ëThe Gour Shasha Towerí, warmly welcomes those masses with modern architecture and home-like interiors. This proclaimed "five star" hospital has been constructed thanks to Mr. Gourgey (Gour) Shasha, who donated 25 million US dollars of his money to the project.

Mr. Shasha was born in Baghdad 80 years ago and also spent many years in Iran. Today he is living alternately in Israel and the US, after turning to business many years ago.

For some time, Mr. Shasha has been looking for a way to benefit the people living in Israel. Six Years ago he decided to contribute to the RMC. It was an ambitious project aiming to change considerably the uncomfortable experience of hospitalization.

Over the long years of construction work, Mr Shasha and his brother Oded personally supervised its progress. At the beginning, three towers (including the ëShasha Towerí) were added to the old building of the hospital (formerly known as ëBeilinson Medical Centreí). Afterwards, the old building was taken apart bit by bit while the hospital operated regularly.

The result: an extraordinary new facility, which doesnít resemble much what most of us recognize as ëa hospitalí. All rooms have only one or two beds in them and a restroom. Numerous works of art have been placed in the rooms and halls and the path leading to the tower passes through a beautiful sculpture garden. It includes 20 departments, 23 operating suites, a geriatric wing, 14 laboratories and 600 beds.

A special addition, that was made by Mr Shasha, is a synagogue named "Moshe and Farha Shasha Synagogue" after his late parents. The unique structure, designed by the renowned Israeli architect, Ram Carmi, merges modern with traditional: large stone pillars welcome guests at the foyer and the interior is made of stone and plain cement. The two chief Rabbis of Israel, Rabbi Bakshi Doron and Rabbi Lau, honoured the opening ceremony of the synagogue with their presence as well as the Israeli Minister of Health, Rabbi Dahan. The male guests of the ceremony completed the last letters in the Torah scroll, just before it was carried into the synagogue.

On the evening of 30th of September 2002 more than 1500 guests gathered to witness the official opening of the ëShasha Towerí and to show their utmost respect to Mr. Shasha. Among those who came were the daughter of the late Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, on whom the facility is named after, Mrs Dalia Rabin-Philosof, President of Israeli Friends of RMC, Mrs. Nava Barak and the mayor of Petach Tikva, Yitzhak Ochayon. The Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, sent greetings by a video recording.

I was honoured to congratulate Mr. Shasha on his visionís realisation on behalf of Mr. Dangoor. "Mr. Naim and Mrs. Renee Dangoor would like to wish you the blessing of the health you have provided to so many people", I said and he replied, excited, with a modest smile: "Please wish them the same".

Above: The Hospital Tower

Above: Mr Shasha with Rabbi Bakshi Doron & Rabbi Lau at the opening ceremony of the synagogue.

Above: Mr Shasha at the opening ceremony





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