(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called on medical residents to return to
work Tuesday morning, saying they need to display responsibility.
offered the residents yesterday to add thousands of shekels to their
monthly salaries in exchange for working in the the public sector once
they become doctors," the prime minister said.
residents: Resignations may be unstoppable
residents agree to postpone resignation by 48 hours
"That is a
generous offer that significantly improves work conditions and
contributes to citizens who are hospitalized in the public health
system," Netanyahu added.
Netanyahu – who is formally the health minister but has
for many months left the medical system crisis to others – swung into action on
Monday night as hundreds of medical residents made good on their promise to
resign their posts.
In an effort to soften their resolve to quit
permanently and find other work in Israel or abroad, Netanyahu told Finance
Ministry negotiators to raise by thousands of shekels the monthly salaries of
residents who agreed to devote all their work time to the public
Netanyahu also asked the medical residents to hold back on
resignations for another two weeks to find suitable solutions to the
crisis. A statement put out by his office said he expected the medical
residents to “demonstrate responsibility.”
Minister Yuval Steinitz slammed demands being made by medical residents
on Tuesday, saying that by going against the collective agreement
reached last month and resigning, the residents are not respecting the law.
"I have a lot of appreciation for doctors and
residents," he said, "but nobody is above the law and nobody is above
the norms of legal agreements," speaking with Army radio.
come one month after the agreement and say that we as an internal group
are not satisfied with the agreement, that's anarchy," Steinitz added.
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finance minister also outlined starting wages of medical residents.
Before the recently-signed agreement, he said, residents' starting wages
were NIS 17,000 per month before taxes. In the new agreement, residents
in the center of the country start at over NIS 21,000 and those in the
periphery start at nearly NIS 26,000 before taxes.
National Labor Court did not issue an injunction Monday overnight
against the mass resignation of hundreds of medical residents throughout
the country as the nearly nine-hour hearing ended with residents' representatives refusing
to return to the negotiating table with the Finance Ministry.
The court is expected to reach a decision on Tuesday whether it will order residents to remain in the country's hospitals.
Hospital wards in the center
of the country were largely empty, as patients who did not need urgent care were
discharged and sent home, while the Health Ministry evacuated those who couldn’t
get adequate treatment due to the shortage of manpower to medical centers in the
At the same time, the public tried to get medical assistance
in outpatient community facilities, and senior specialists were forced to take
blood samples and do other elementary tasks that they hadn’t performed for
years, if not decades.
More than half of the
residents who submitted their resignation letters over a month ago decided on
Monday that enough was enough.
The struggle was a conflict in which neither side wanted to
blink first. Netanyahu realized the seriousness of the situation when the first
residents announced they would not show up. He called Finance Minister Yuval
Steinitz and Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman for an emergency
The state’s lawyers initiated a National Labor Court session
aimed at winning “tiedown orders” that would prevent resignations that would
endanger public health.
Although doctors have the right to resign
individually, a simultaneous abandonment of the wards clearly puts health and
life at risk.
Joanna Paraszczuk and Nadav Shemer contributed to this report.
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