Prof. Jonathan Halevy, the director general of Jerusalem's Shaare Zedek Medical Center, received close to $100,000 in 2004 from the American Committee for Shaare Zedek for his fund-raising activities. Such compensation would not be allowed at a state hospital, but Shaare Zedek is private.
Morris Talansky, who is a key witness in the latest investigation concerning Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, is best known for his fund-raising efforts for the hospital. Talansky was paid for his efforts, and it turns out he was not the only one. The American Committee for Shaare Zedek is responsible for raising contributions for the hospital in the U.S., and Talansky was its executive director at the end of the 1990s, and later served as a consultant to the committee. Halevy was also paid as a "consultant."
In 2004, Talansky was paid $90,000 for his fund-raising work, according to the group's annual report to the IRS.
Halevy is one of the most well-known - and highly esteemed - figures in Israeli medicine. He confirmed receiving the payments, which he said were approved by the hospital's board and reported to all the relevant bodies. He also said that he paid full taxes on the amount in Israel.
According to Halevy, this is the way the directors of the medical center chose to pay part of his salary.
"I think 2004 was the first year I received such a payment, and it all depended on the extent of my activities," said Halevy.
As to the legality of the payments, it seems there is nothing improper with Halevy being paid for raising funds for the hospital he leads. Shaare Zedek is privately owned by a U.S. non-profit organization, which is entitled to decide for itself how to divide up the monies it raises.
Halevy has no obligation to report either his fund-raising activities, or payments received for that work, to the Health Ministry, nor does he need the ministry's permission for it.
Nevertheless, there are still questions. "People who contribute to the organization assume that part of their money goes to salaries and operating expenses, but it is doubtful whether they realize that the head of the hospital, who lectures them on the needs and troubles of the hospital, receives part of this money," said a senior ministry official.
"If the director of a state hospital were to receive money from a hospital 'friends of' organization for fund-raising, without Health Ministry approval, it would be criminal. And it is likely that he would not receive such permission," said the official.
The ministry's internal comptroller, Arye Paz, has stated more than once in lectures: "The moral standards of a hospital director must be above and beyond those of any official. When a hospital director is involved in matters in which the money goes into his own pocket, this is a sign to those under him that it is okay to be involved in other things that come at the expense of the hospital's main business."
The American Committee for Shaare Zedek did not respond to TheMarker's questions on the matter.
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