Col. (res.) Dr. Salman Zarka Director of Ziv Medical Center in Safed is appreciative of the privilege and the honor to light a torch on the eve of the 71st Independence Day of the State of Israel.

Minister of Culture and Sports, Miri Regev, Chairwoman of the Ministerial Committee on Symbols and Ceremonies, informed Dr. Zarka that she was happy to accept the recommendation of the Public Committee for the Selection of Torchlighters on Independence Day. Dr. Zarka thanked the Minister for approving him and all he represents, in his activities, his being an Israeli and belonging to the Druze community.

Minister Miri Regev said of the choice:

"I am proud that Dr. Salman Zarka, Director of Ziv Medical Center, an internationally renowned expert in public and military medicine was chosen to light a torch on this coming Independence Day. Dr. Zarka expresses the spirit of the IDF and the affirmation of Israeli conscience in the dedicatd care provided to all those in need of medical assistance, including those well beyond the borders of Israel. Dr. Zarka's spirit of dedication upholds the values of the Declaration of Independence. Dr. Zarka expresses the brotherly alliance between us and the Druze community. Dr. Zarka, I am proud of you for your humanitarian spirit, which represents the good and the fair in our society, for the benefit of the public and the individual in the periphery and beyond borders."

Col. (res.) Dr. Salman Zarka said: "I am very touched and thank you profusely for the privilege and honor of lighting a torch on the Independence Day of the State of Israel. This torch is an honor and a privilege to all civilian and military doctors and nurses who provide quality and advanced medical services to all citizens and soldiers in Israel, at all times and places, in the center and in the periphery. The medical teams have displayed exalted values and spirit by providing life-saving medical treatment to the Syrian enemy on the border, in the military hospital and in the medical centers in the north. The State of Israel can be proud of its health system, both civilian and military, of its continual professional conduct and the humane hand extended to each and every needy person. I am very proud to light the torch on behalf of the military medical teams to which I belonged for many years in routine and emergency situations, and also on behalf of the amazing team members at Ziv Medical Center, who performed a unique task in helping the Syrians and working tirelessly to promote equal medical services in the northern periphery."

In its remarks, the Committee noted that Colonel (res.) Dr. Salman Zarka is the director of Ziv Medical Center in Safed, a world-renowned expert on public and military medicine, who also serves as a lecturer at the University of Haifa and at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Dr. Zarka was born in Peki'in, studied medicine at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in the framework of the military reserve and served for many years in the IDF Medical Corps.

He was involved in humanitarian activities, crossing borders in the establishment of a field hospital in the Golan Heights for the benefit of the wounded from the civil war in Syria and in his role as head of the hospital in Safed continued this mission. Dr. Zarka has helped thousands of victims of disaster and war around the world, while clarifying and perfecting the value of the sanctity of life.

In his activities, Dr. Zarka expresses the State of Israel's commitment to the basic values of human dignity and the sanctity of life and the exceptional dedication of the medical staff in Israeli public hospitals to the treatment of all human kind.