Doctors, residents launch hunger strike

New strike begins as court rules that mass resignations are illegal; "We will not eat until negotiations are reopened" strike leader says.

Doctors demo311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Doctors demo311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
After they were forbidden Sunday morning to tender their resigation letters, some interns and residents at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer in the afternoon entered a hunger strike in protest of the agreement between the Israel Medical Association and the Finance Ministry, Army Radio reported.
"We have done everything we could to alter the agreement," explained the protest organizer, Dr. Eldar Carmel. "After they informed us that our resignation letters were illegal, this is what we were left with," he said, according to the report.
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In the words of the hunger striking doctors, they have decided to refrain from food until the agreement, signed by the Finance Ministry and the Israel Medical Association, is reopened for discussion and addition, the report said.
The organizer of the hunger strike, Dr. Eldar Carmel, an ear, nose, and throat specialist in the hospital, assumed that more doctors will join the protest. He emphasized that the hunger striking doctors will continue to work during the protest and would not violate the injunction issued by the courts Sunday morning.
"This demonstration is one of desperation," Carmel explained. "We have done everything we could to alter the agreement. Today they informed us that our collective resignation, which was a completely legitimate and conscientious decision from everyone, is illegal. The only thing we are left with is a hunger strike," he said.
Sunday morning, in a unanimous ruling, the National Labor Court issued an injunction ordering 1,000 residents who signed letters of resignation to report to work as usual.
The court ruled that the resignations signed by the residents are illegal and therefore invalid. "Failure to report to work as stated will constitute an unauthorized abandonment of their jobs by the workers, and will be subject to the appropriate consequences," the court ruled.