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09.03.2022 | ו אדר ב' התשפב

Signed, Sealed and Delivered

The Edmond de Rothschild Foundation is making the largest single donation in its history – NIS 180 million, to expand the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine at Bar Ilan University and to promote teaching and research.


The Edmond de Rothschild Foundation is making the largest single donation in its history – NIS 180 million, to expand the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine at Bar Ilan University and to promote teaching and research.

Bar-Ilan University’s Faculty of Medicine in Safed was established following a government resolution in September 2009, and began operating in 2011 in the old Ziv Hospital complex in the city. Today, dozens of laboratories in various fields have been built by prefab construction, along with teaching, administration, and logistics classrooms that operate out of the stone building that served as a hospital.

Now, after many years of planning and approvals in the district committees, construction has begun on the permanent teaching building next to the present structure. The new building, which is currently under construction thanks to a generous donation from the Azrieli Foundation - a courageous and pioneering partner since the inception of the faculty - the Rothschild Foundation, and the Ministry for the Development of the Negev and Galilee, will include 5,600 square meters of classrooms, laboratories, a cutting-edge library, gym, parking lot with 100 parking spaces, and an auditorium.

Baroness Ariane de Rothschild sees higher education as a key catalyst in bridging gaps in Israeli society. "We decided to help establish the Faculty of Medicine in Safed because this is a clear example of true empowerment of the Israeli periphery. It is also another tangible expression of the Rothschild family's continued commitment to establishing Israeli society as an inclusive society that sees higher education as an important means of advancing all sectors of the population in Israel on the basis of values of excellence.”

At an event marking the signing of the agreement between Bar-Ilan University and the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation, Prof. Arie Zaban, President of Bar-Ilan University, said: "The Rothschild Foundation joining in this Zionist enterprise is another significant milestone in our journey. It is symbolic that in 1890 the renowned benefactor, Baron Edmond Benjamin de Rothschild, founded Zichron Yaacov Hospital, the first and only hospital serving the northern residents of Israel, Jews and Arabs alike, and now those who continue his legacy and work are supporting and investing in the growth and success of the first and only faculty of medicine in the north. We thank Baroness Ariane de Rothschild and the Foundation's management for their tremendous support in the Faculty's march into a new era. And we appreciate and thank our longtime partner, the Azrieli Foundation, and its representatives here, on this journey together – this is a historic moment."  

Prof. Karl Skorecki, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, added that the major support for the naming of the new Ariane de Rothschild Research Institute with the support of the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation emphasizes the growing importance of the scientific and research base in advancing the latest medical education. This support will enable the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine of Bar-Ilan University in the Galilee to nurture the most advanced and dedicated physicians for the health benefit of residents of the region and the country. This is good news for public health, with the focus based on a strategic plan that will bring about new discoveries to reduce health disparities in Israel and turn the Faculty into a leader in areas that include diabetes, genetics of isolated populations, data science in medicine, virology and public health.

Prof. Yaffa Zilbershats, Chair of the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education, said that Bar-Ilan University's pioneering project to establish a medical faculty in the heart of the Galilee, in the city of Safed, corresponds with the Rothschild Foundation's vision. "Bar-Ilan University has the ability to realize the Zionist vision as a basis for groundbreaking research in the fields of life sciences and exact sciences and as the host of the platform for genomic and clinical data – the 'Mosaic' project – as well as its outstanding researchers in the Faculty of Medicine in Safed. This combination makes it possible to develop a large, significant and innovative medical research center in Safed. The joining together of the Rothschild Foundation, the Azrieli Foundation, university donors and state budgeting through the Planning and Budgeting Committee facilitates the realization of this pioneering vision."

In addition to this generous donation, the Foundation, under the leadership of Baroness Ariane de Rothschild, has donated more than NIS 1 billion in the last decade, mainly to reduce gaps in Israeli society and promote peripheral populations through higher education. In recent months, the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation has also donated protective equipment to the medical teams treating Covid-19 patients in hospitals around the country, and promoted research to eradicate the epidemic. Following Operation Guardian of the Walls, the Foundation donated NIS 1 million for psychological support for children in Sderot, Ashkelon and other communities in Gaza border communities.

The Deputy Governor of the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation, Miki Kliger, noted that the Foundation has already transferred the funds required to purchase the land on which the permanent teaching building for the Faculty of Medicine in Safed is located, and will continue to transfer additional amounts according to the project’s rate of development.

Mr. Shuki Ohana, Mayor of Safed, said: "This is a historic moment that will take the Faculty of Medicine in Safed forward and significantly help to promote the medical system in the Galilee, and in Israel in general. The enormous contribution of the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation to the Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Medicine is critical for the continued advancement of the faculty, and will help train new medical staff that are so badly needed by hospitals. Presently, it will also make a significant contribution to advancing treatment and research in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic."


Photo (left to right): Bar-Ilan University Rector Prof. Amnon Albeck, Edmond de Rothschild Foundation CEO Tal Sagi Faran, Deputy Chairman of the Foundation's Board of Governors Miki Kliger, Bar-Ilan University President Prof. Arie Zaban, Rothschild Foundation Director of Philanthropy Elli Booch, Rothschild Foundation Program Officer for Academic Excellence Vardit Gilor, and Azrieli Faculty of Medicine Dean Prof. Karl Skorecki