The campaign started with a sharp-eyed SHATIL staffer from our Social and Economic Justice Project noticing a small item in a local Northern newspaper, which led to an intensive advocacy and media campaign involving local cancer patients and many partners. Recently, it reached a milestone when the government agreed to pay the transport costs of cancer patients who had to travel daily to Haifa, the only radiation center in the entire Northern region, for radiotherapy treatments.
And last week, after dozens of letters, phone calls, a petition, meetings with MK's, official parliamentary questions, cancer patients' visits in the Knesset and lots of SHATIL-generated media (including a TV reporter who accompanied a group of cancer patients to Haifa), Acting Health Minister Rabbi Ya'akov Litzman promised to deliver the goods. A radiation center is now planned for Tzfat (Safed) in the eastern Galilee so that cancer patients in the Northern periphery will no longer have to wait months for appointments and then travel to Haifa for a treatment that lasts minutes.
Cancer patients from the North after attending a plenary at the Knesset last year as part of the campaign to get a radiotherapy center in the Northern periphery.
On May 26, Litzman announced his decision to open the center at a tour of Ziv Medical Center in Tzfat and then informed Yakir Shahaf, SHATIL's northern media and lobby consultant, who had worked long and hard on this 18-month-old campaign. Standing with Shahaf at that moment were cancer patients from the North who were greatly excited by the announcement.
"Coordinated team work between SHATIL staff, active citizens, hospital and municipal representatives and members of Knesset brought about this wonderful success," said Amiram Goldin, director of SHATIL's Galil office. "Let's hope the process will soon be complete and that the necessary funds will arrive and we will soon see a radiotherapy center in Tzfat."