On Tuesday, April 12, the ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran Rehabilitation Village welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Minister of Health Nitzan Horowitz and supporters from around the globe to celebrate the grand opening of The Harvey and Gloria Kaylie Rehabilitation Medical Center, the first-ever rehabilitation hospital in Israel’s Negev region.
Under the auspices of ADI, this state-of-the-art rehabilitation, research and social center will establish a model of community-based inclusive health services, increase the number of Israel’s rehabilitative hospital beds dramatically, bring quality care to the underserved residents of the south, and create more housing and jobs in the Negev, marking the beginning of a brand new era of medical and economic strength for the State of Israel.
After helping a class of special education students from the rehabilitation village assemble Passover food packages for local families in need, Prime Minister Bennett joined the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new hospital and addressed the event’s 400 attendees.
“This is a momentous and historic day for the State of Israel, because we are embracing the empathy that defines our true national character and enhancing the lives of individuals touched by disability, those who cannot care for themselves. This incredible hospital will put the Negev on the map in numerous ways,” said Prime Minister Bennett, while addressing the crowd.
The Prime Minister went on to praise Major General (Res.) Doron Almog, the Founder and Chairman of ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran, and his wife, Didi, explaining that they “represent everything that is beautiful about Israel.”
“We face many challenges and hardships throughout our lifetimes, and we show our mettle by how we respond to these experiences. The very best among us use these occurrences to fuel their passions, to build and enhance the world around them, to bring hope to others. Doron and Didi Almog are rays of light who tapped into their pain and heartbreak to empower others and ensure that every person is valued as a member of our society, treated with dignity and provided with love beyond measure.”
Fueled by their love for their late son, Eran, who was born with severe disabilities and lost his battle with Castleman’s disease at the age of 23, Doron and Didi Almog led the creation and development of the rehabilitation village, a community where people from diverse backgrounds and all levels of ability can live, heal and grow together.
“From day one, ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran has been committed to providing love, attention and the highest levels of specialized professional care for the most vulnerable members of our society – individuals with disabilities and those in need of extensive rehabilitation following an accident or health event,” explained Major General (Res.) Doron Almog, Founder and Chairman of ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran, ahead of the event. “By establishing the first-ever rehabilitation hospital in Israel’s south, we will be able to expand our reach and deepen our commitment to empowering those touched by disability and their families while also making the Negev bloom in every way imaginable.”
At present, there are only 850 rehabilitation hospital beds available to Israel’s 9 million citizens, and none of them are in the Negev region. As a result, residents of the south requiring inpatient rehabilitation are hospitalized in the center of the country, placing an untenable burden on their families, who must travel long distances and disrupt their personal and professional lives to be there for their loved ones.
By providing inpatient and long-term outpatient rehabilitation services and treatments that were previously nonexistent in southern Israel, The Harvey and Gloria Kaylie Rehabilitation Medical Center at ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran will make this phenomenon a thing of the past, keeping families together throughout the rehabilitation process while also immersing them in the village’s uniquely inclusive environment. While the hospital will initially feature two 36-bed wards for Neurological and Orthopedic Rehabilitation, a third 36-bed ward for Geriatric Rehabilitation will be added within one year, bringing the total to 108 beds.
“The opening of the rehabilitation hospital, only the third of its kind in all of Israel, is a welcome development for the residents of the Negev,” said Dr. Itzhak Siev-Ner, Director of the Rehabilitation Hospital. “By opening sub-departments with innovative specialties in Neurological and Orthopedic Rehabilitation, we will have uniquely skilled teams that will provide the very best care in every area of rehabilitation.”
In September 2014, the Israeli government deemed the establishment of the rehabilitation hospital crucial to the vitality of the Negev region and the country as a whole, passing a resolution to match every dollar raised for the landmark project. With the unwavering support of multiple government ministries, JNF-USA and key international contributors, including the Kaylie Foundation, the rehabilitation hospital’s first two wards, administrative hub and sports therapy center have reached completion, and the facility will begin admitting patients later this month.
“ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran’s approach to rehabilitation is holistic and includes not only therapies and treatments but an overall feeling of wellbeing. While receiving care and learning how to overcome their new challenges and return to their homes and their lives, patients at this innovative new hospital will also enjoy a beautiful open environment with lush gardens and the many amazing resources already offered by the village,” said Alicia Kaylie Yacoby, daughter of Harvey and Gloria Kaylie.
“In essence, this rehab hospital amplifies ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran’s incredible spirit and offerings, and it will allow even more people to be exposed to the beauty that takes place at the village every day. Hopefully, everyone will begin to see the disability community as we do, simply as people with more challenges to face that we do.”
“My father, Harvey Kaylie, of blessed memory, always said that his goal was to impact this world even long after he was gone. He was extremely smart with a huge heart and tremendous foresight, and he never wasted time looking back, just forward to see what else he could do to improve the lives of others. I’m delighted that through this rehab hospital he is succeeding in his goal, and I hope that others can learn from him. Though he passed away, his spirit remains strong.”
In addition to the Geriatric Rehabilitation ward, later additions to the hospital complex will include a conference center and Israel’s first translational research lab, a project run in conjunction with Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, the Weizmann Institute, Johns Hopkins University and others to study the trauma and recovery of everything from car accidents to COVID-19 and allow for the immediate transfer of data from the lab to clinical implementation throughout the hospital.
A neighborhood of residential units has also been built immediately adjacent to the hospital to house professional staff, paramedical students and volunteers. The close proximity of the staff residences to the hospital will ensure around-the-clock accessibility and the highest level of professional care. These residences are also a critical tool in the recruitment of staff for the hospital, and will contribute to the revitalization, development and economic stability of Israel’s southern region.
“We never saw the village as the culmination of the dream. It was always just the beginning,” added Almog. “To never stop building towards a truly inclusive society, to continuously innovate and create the very best rehabilitation and social resources for the full spectrum of humanity – that’s the dream.”