The functioning of hospitals around the country will be disrupted for two hours on Sunday as the Israel Medical Association protests against recent incidents of violence.

During workers’ assemblies, the hospitals will function on a reduced Shabbat schedule, with only emergency rooms, intensive care units, dialysis, delivery rooms, premature baby units and oncology services functioning normally, the IMA said.

The workers’ assemblies will be held between 8 and 10 a.m.

The IMA said it was protesting against a recent “ugly wave of violence” against doctors by patients or their relatives. “This shocking and embarrassing wave of violence continues, and most of the public is silent. We will not remain silent,” the doctors’ association said on Saturday night.

IMA chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman explained that it was “absurd that doctors were sworn to save lives and treat anyone who needs medical care, while our lives are unprotected.

It is an unfair exchange. Harm to doctors also hurts their patients. A doctor who is attacked finds it difficult to give the maximum care, not immediately after the attack and not for a long time afterwards. A doctor who fears his patients stops functioning properly. We don’t mean to harm patients by taking these measures, but we want to wake up the public and draft them into struggling against violence in the health system,” he said.

“We are calling for the bolstering of mutual trust and honor between doctors and their patients; we are calling on every Israeli to join the struggle against violence and prevent every expression of physical or verbal violence. The quality of medical care that patients will receive depends also on their and their cooperation with doctors. The IMA will continue to fight for strengthening public medicine also by preventing violence,” Eidelman continued.

He called for the urgent approval of the National Program for Halting Violence in Medical Institutions that government ministries and the IMA prepared last August. If the program is not approved, the association will ”consider additional organization steps including sanctions and strikes in medical institutions until Israel’s doctors will enjoy the protection they deserve,” he said.

Some recent incidents of violence involved nurses, but the Nurses’ Association did not issue any joint statement with the IMA.



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