December 22, 1938
The Rambam Health Care Campus opens as the British Government Hospital of Haifa and is hailed by the British high commissioner for Palestine, Harold MacMichael, as the “finest medical institution in the Middle East.” Physicians, soldiers, government officials, and representatives of the Yishuv, the organization of Jewish settlements, join MacMichael at the opening ceremony.
The 225-bed facility at the foot of Mount Carmel is designed by the world-famous architect Erich Mendelsohn, who fled Germany to Britain in 1933 to escape the rising anti-Semitism under the Nazis.
In his speech at the ceremony, MacMichael celebrates the hospital as a reflection of the growth of Haifa and its mix of ethnicities and religions, and he hopes that the construction project, which used equal numbers of Jews and Arabs, serves as an example of coexistence for Palestine. “It is difficult to exaggerate the remarkable growth that has taken place here,” he says, “with the change from a small port to one of the greatest in the Mediterranean, and this hospital marks but one phase of that larger work.”
The hospital opens with departments in internal medicine, surgery, obstetrics/gynecology and psychiatry and clinics for venereal disease and tuberculosis. Dr. John Herbert Thompson is the first director. The hospital is renamed Rambam, honoring physician and scholar Maimonides, in 1952. It remains the largest hospital in northern Israel and is the fifth-largest in the nation