Odelia Amit is my nextdoor neighbour and she is out of a job.

It has taken her several attempts to finally quit because everytime she handed in her resignation at Ichilov she has been told it is illegal and that she HAS to continue working. Though at the moment she thinks she has quit she may soon find out that voluntarily leaving your job is, in fact, illegal and she will have to return or face the consequences.

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In terms of finances Odelia earns around 24,000 NIS per month, the amount of money she actually pockets is around 10,000 NIS. Since this is Israel there is an incredibly complex arrangement that determines what her take home pay is with an hourly rate calculated at 26 NIS. For those of you doing the math, you are correct it doesn''t make any sense and here lies a massive part of the problem.

Odelia works two 30 hour shifts a week at hospital and also works regular days in between. She works either 6 day weeks or 7 day weeks and sleeps at home roughly 4 nights a week. But she isn''t really complaining about that.

I press Odelia over and over again to tell me what her perfect job description would be as a doctor, to tell me what it is that she wants to get out of this industrial dispute. Instead of hearing a shopping list of demands she tells me that "I want to feel supported by the government and the health ministry as a doctor. Instead I am disgusted by my treatment at the hands of a government that just doesn''t care about me." We get to the point where she actually stamps her foot on the floor and starts shouting at me "I have quit 3 times and they won''t even let me quit! They are tying me to my work and using the law to force me to work under rules which they have imposed upon me!"

Odelia feels like she is being betrayed by the very people that she works for. She tells me tales of having to look people in the face several times a week and face the heartbreak of telling them that their loved one has died and to force her face to remain impassive at the same time. She tells me of the struggle that she faces daily to keep people alive when they are suffering from the gravest of injuries. And now she feels betrayed by the very people who are supposed to understand what challenges doctors face and make their lives and their jobs easier rather than more difficult.

Odelia tells me about facing patients who are forced to wait 9 hours before being admitted to the hospital in a health system that simply can''t handle the strain that it is being placed under any longer. By the time anyone actually sees their doctor they are already so outraged at the treatment that they have had up to that point that they need to be calmed down before anyone can even deal with them.

She tells me that it takes 4 years and 2 professional qualifications to be in line for a promotion at the hospital and that then she would be earning less as a senior doctor than as a junior one. That is because senior doctors are working less hours than junior doctors, they get the right amount of time at home with the family but have to survive on 6,000 NIS per month rather than the 10,000 NIS she walks away with. "That is why they go straight from the hospital to their private clinics everyday where they work a second job." She says.

I am not sure about you but after paying 1,000 NIS for an ambulance I am not sure that I want to wait 9 hours only to be treated by a doctor who is at the back end of a 28 hour shift. Like all Israelis I hope that something will happen soon that not just forces doctors back to work but that actually helps the health system as a whole, something that makes it more efficient and that doesn''t place such an incredible strain on doctors.

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