Ezrat Nashim Hospital

The end of the 19th century saw increased development in the medical field in Jerusalem. Until that time, the city did not actually have a hospital, and the residents of the city, who lived in the relatively small and densely populated precinct within the city walls, suffered from poor hygienic conditions and were plagued with many contagious diseases. In 1844, the English Mission Hospital was founded in Jerusalem, the first substantial medical institution in the area. As was the case with other public services, European powers saw in the medical field a way of acquiring political influence in the area and the English Mission Hospital was the first in a series of hospitals founded under the auspices of a European country. That same year, another hospital was founded by Montefiore in the Hebrew quarter, aided by the French. The Meir Rothschild Hospital followed suit a decade later, this time with Austrian sponsorship. The Bikur Cholim and Misgav Ladach Hospitals were founded shortly after, with private funding. 


These new hospitals greatly improved the medical care available to the city's residents, but one field was still neglected – gynecology. This field, especially child birth, was still mainly taught and practiced in informal, non-professional settings, and maternal mortality was high. In 1894 the women's association Ezrat Nashim, was founded by Tzipi Pines, wife of Yehiel Pines of the Hibat Zion movement, and was dedicated to the improvement of medical issues related to women. The association soon turned its attention to another medical field that was even more in the dark – the treatment of the mentally ill. The only hostel for the mentally disabled that operated in the city was a small, neglected house that was able to provide boarding to five patients alone. The association took this institution under its wing and rehabilitated it, and was soon able to provide services to many more patients.  In 1896, in need of a larger facility, the hospital was moved to a building outside the city walls.
At the beginning of the 20th century, a seven acre plot of land was purchased on the Western end of Jaffa Street, a then uninhabited area, and a new, two-building complex was built to house a large number of patients and a full staff. The Ezrat Nashim Hospital was the first Psychiatric hospital in the Middle East.