A dozen osteopaths demonstrated outside Health Ministry headquarters in Jerusalem on Monday in protest against the ministry's decision not to set down strict criteria defining who can work in the profession.
"Doctors of osteopathic medicine" who can graduate from academic institutions in the US and other countries, but not in Israel, manipulate bones and joints to diagnose and treat illness.
The demonstrators, representing the Israel Osteopathic Society, set up a "tent of protest" that they called a "School of Osteopathy" and handed out "graduate certificates" to ministry staffers and passersby.
Dani Sher, the head of the society, said that by not regulating the field "the ministry is endangering public health." Charlatans would now be allowed to offer treatments of the spine, rehabilitation of wounds and treatment of children, he said.
Up until two weeks ago, the ministry had supported setting criteria for the profession, he said, but then changed its mind "under pressure from lobbyists who set up a non-academic course near Netanya."
There are 38 Israelis with degrees or diplomas in osteopathy from academic institutions from abroad, and half that number of graduates from the local non-academic institution, Sher added.
The Knesset Labor, Social Affairs and Health Committee is to hold a vote on the issue soon, but the ministry spokeswoman would not comment except to say that those with complaints could bring them before the committee.