This Hanukkah Give the Gift of Truth

The Media Line led twenty years ago in pioneering the American independent news agency in the Middle East, arguably the first in the region. We have always stayed true to our mission: to provide you with contextual sourced and trustworthy news. In an age of fake news masquerading as journalism, The Media Line plays a crucial role in providing fact-based news that deserves your support.

We're proud of the dozens of young students we've trained in our Press and Policy Student Program who will form the vanguard of the next generation of journalists to the benefit of countless millions of news readers.

Non-profit news needs public support. Please support us with your generous contributions:
Donate
We thank our loyal readers and wish you all the happiest of holidays
The Media Line
Former IDF Chief Medical Officer To Lead Israel’s COVID-19 Fight
Then-Brig. Gen. Dr. Nachman Ash describes preparations for the establishment of an IDF Medical Corps field hospital to aid earthquake victims in Haiti, January 2010. (Screenshot: Israel Defense Forces/YouTube)

Former IDF Chief Medical Officer To Lead Israel’s COVID-19 Fight

Prof. Nachman Ash will replace Prof. Ronni Gamzu as coronavirus czar as country heads into winter of uncertainty

One of Israel’s top public health experts is praising the decision to name Prof. Nachman Ash to lead the country’s coronavirus efforts following Prof. Ronni Gamzu’s prescheduled departure.

Prof. Nadav Davidovitch, director of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s School of Public Health, called Ash an “excellent candidate” for the position of national coronavirus project coordinator, in an interview with The Media Line on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister’s Office and Health Ministry issued a joint statement announcing the appointment of the 59-year-old Ash, who is director in the Division of Medicine at Maccabi Healthcare Services, the second-largest health fund in Israel, and a professor in the Health Systems Department at Ariel University.

Gamzu had agreed from his start as coronavirus czar in mid-July that in November he would return to his job as CEO of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center. The transition begins on Wednesday, with Gamzu officially leaving the project coordinator on November 13.

Davidovitch said that he had worked closely with Ash on several issues.

“He was always very broad-minded, attentive, a person who was always willing to hear criticism but also to make decisions,” Davidovitch remarked.

The father of twin boys and a daughter, married to pediatric oncologist Dr. Shifra Ash, Nachman Ash brings wide-ranging experience, according to Davidovitch, who singled out his four years as head of the IDF Medical Corps, particularly his handling of the 2009 swine flu pandemic.

He will be under lots of pressure like Gamzu and other people in the Health Ministry because of the politicization of the decision-making. And there will be lots of media attention. But I know him, and I’m sure he will work together [with others] with all confidence and will listen and integrate [their efforts and ideas]

While IDF chief medical officer, then-Brig. Gen. Ash was also in charge of deploying field hospitals to Haiti in 2010 and Japan in 2011 in response to natural disasters.

His educational background includes an MD degree from Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University in 1986 and a master’s degree in medical informatics from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health, Sciences and Technology in 2001. Ash also has a master’s degree in political science from the University of Haifa.

“Of course, he will be under lots of pressure like Gamzu and other people in the Health Ministry because of the politicization of the decision-making,” Davidovitch said. “And there will be lots of media attention. But I know him, and I’m sure he will work together [with others] with all confidence and will listen and integrate [their efforts and ideas].”

Gamzu’s tenure was notable for an increase in coronavirus infections, leading to the nation’s second lockdown, from which Israel is now gradually exiting.

Udi Qimron, professor in the Department of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, is critical of Gamzu’s time at the Health Ministry.

“I believe that Prof. Gamzu was forced to implement a policy that he did not completely support, as he himself admitted. Some of his initial steps were, in my opinion, correct, but some of the measures he implemented, including the lockdown, were completely wrong,” Qimron told The Media Line.

“I believe that overall, his actions did not follow through on his initial speech on ‘signing a new agreement of trust’ with the Israeli public,” continued Qimron.

But Ash is entering into a much better situation compared to Gamzu, according to Davidovitch, in terms of hospital and community preparedness and the systems put in place to break the chains of infection, such as through contact tracing.

“He’s not coming to implement a revolution,” Davidovitch said. “He wants to create a system that is well organized and balanced and, especially now with winter coming, preventing a second wave and especially preventing another lockdown.”

Related stories:

Give the Gift of Trusted News!

Dear friends,

The Media Line is always there to report to you the stories and issues of the Middle East – completely and in context: TML is the source you can trust.

Know The Media Line to Know The Middle East!

Please support our ad-free, nonprofit news agency. Our seasoned journalists reporting from the Middle East are working day and night during these challenging, yet defining times; and our student interns are honing their knowledge and skills, preparing to emerge as tomorrow’s journalists.

You rely on us and we’re relying on you! Make your online tax-deductible donation here and contact us regarding donations through appreciated stock, donor advised funds, qualifying IRA distributions and other charitable instruments.

Thank you for confidence in The Media Line.
 
Felice Friedson
Founder, President

Invest in the
Trusted Mideast
News source.
We are on the
front lines.

Personalize Your News
Upgrade your experience by choosing the categories that matter most to you.
Click on the icon to add the category to your Personalize news
Browse Categories and Topics
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.