Livni joins IMA doctors' protest march to Jerusalem

Opposition chair says current health care issues wouldn't be the same Israel had a different prime minister, demands Netanyahu take care of urgent issue; Peres calls Eidelman: Mind your health.

July 28, 2011 10:40
2 minute read.
Livni on IMA march

Livni on IMA march _311. (photo credit: Itzik Edri )

Opposition chair and Kadima MK Tzipi Livni accompanied the Israel Medical Association march from Ramat Gan to Jerusalem for an hour on Thursday, calling on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to address the urgent issue immediately.

Livni was joined by MK Rachel Adato, also of Kadima, and four other doctors. The march, which began Monday, had reached the Harel junction at Route 1 by Thursday morning.

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The opposition chair took the opportunity to blame Netanyahu for inaction, telling Israel Radio that if Israel had a different prime minister, then the current circumstances in the health care system wouldn't be the same.

Israel would have a different socioeconomic platform, she continued, and IMA chair Dr. Leonid Eidelman would have been invited to the Prime Minister's Office.

When asked why she did not take further preventative measures when she and Kadima were in power, Livni replied that there are certain things one cannot do unless they are prime minister.

President Shimon Peres also got involved, Israel Radio said, calling Eidelman with the message: "You carry the weight of the promotion and improvement of Israel's public health care on your shoulders. You are valuable for all of us, mind your health."

Eidelman responded by assuring the president his health was fine, adding that he welcomed the president's comments about the improvement of the public health care system.

The doctors' strike, entering day 115, entered a new phase earlier in the week when IMA chair Dr. Leonid Eidelman announced the march to the PMO as well as a one-man hunger strike he urged others not take a part in.

Following the failure of talks between the Finance Ministry and the IMA, Eidelman vowed to stay on the hunger strike until an agreement with the government was reached.

On Wednesday, Eidelman diverted his itinerary on to hold a meeting with Treasury officials.

The Finance Ministry said the meeting was held to try to find a solution to the nearly four-month-long labor dispute, and would continue in the coming days.

Hundreds of doctors from hospitals around the country joined Eidelman’s march on Wednesday to show their support.

In the afternoon, doctors from Haifa hospitals held a demonstration at the Horev Center in support of the IMA. Over 200 doctors blocked roads in the city.

Over 360 sixth-year medical students from universities around the country signed a petition stating that if the doctors’ basic demands were not accepted by the government, they would not start their internships in the fall.

Additionally, 200 interns pledged not to start their residencies under the same conditions.

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