This year, Manofim Festival will open with the central exhibition “Nurse, Nurse,” in Bikur Cholim Hospital at the heart of Jerusalem. The hospital opened in the mid-19th century to meet the need for health services for the Jewish Yishuv. Thanks to its strategic location in the city center, the hospital provided critical medical care to many casualties, and its fascinating history exemplifies the radical transformations that have taken place in the Israeli healthcare system. As a non-government supported hospital it faced financial difficulties and in 2007 was eventually sold to business tycoon Arkadi Gaydamak. In December 2012, the hospital’s operation was handed over to the management of Shaare Zedek Medical Center, while most of the wards in the hospital were closed. In 2015, Gaydamak sold the hospital complex to Taaman Real Estate, and it is currently leased to Shaare Zedek Medical Center. The real estate corporation wishes to change the designation of the building from public use to a mixed urban area, which will include huge buildings and commercial uses.
Today, the main building of the hospital is deserted, and Ziv Building (formerly the German Hospital), which is still in use, houses mainly birthing rooms, a neonatal intensive care unit, and a maternity ward. This space will host the exhibition “Nurse, Nurse,” that will set out to focus on a space where a call for help is heard, between the desire to be healed and the challenges it faces as a result of medical, financial, bureaucratic, or personal circumstances. The artworks will examine the question of the effectiveness of recovery: From the most intimate and personal place of the individual patient, through the strict protocols and guidelines imposed in medical institutions, to the possibility of healing and recovering crumbling institutions in the face of economic processes and overpowering real estate ventures.