Healthcare system to go on strike on Monday in protests against violence

The decision to go on strike comes after medical staff were attacked twice within a matter of days.

Protest against violence towards medical staff at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, May 19, 2022 (photo credit: SHAARE ZEDEK MEDICAL CENTER)
Protest against violence towards medical staff at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, May 19, 2022
(photo credit: SHAARE ZEDEK MEDICAL CENTER)

Israel's entire healthcare system will go on strike on Monday in protest against a spike in violence against medical staff, the Israel Medical Association decided on Thursday.

"A strike is never the default for us, but the violence in the healthcare system has long since become an epidemic and the red lines are crossed almost every day. On Monday, the doctors will say enough of the violence, enough of the lawlessness," said the chairman of the association, Prof. Zion Hagay, MD, MHA.

The decision to go on strike comes after medical staff were attacked twice within a matter of days.

On Thursday, a doctor was violently attacked at a women's health center in Ramla. The suspect, a 17-year-old young woman, was arrested by police after attempting to run away.

On Monday, a doctor was attacked at Soroka Medical Center by parents who brought their son for treatment after the parents disagreed with the treatment. On Wednesday, staff at Soroka went on strike in protest against the attack.

 View of the Kaplan Medical Center, in Rehovot, on December 11, 2020.  (credit: YOSSI ALONI/FLASH90) View of the Kaplan Medical Center, in Rehovot, on December 11, 2020. (credit: YOSSI ALONI/FLASH90)

'We have no choice but to shut down the entire system'

"We clarified that yesterday's strike in Soroka was only a warning strike, but today it is clear to everyone that we have no choice but to shut down the entire system so that someone in the government will wake up and put an end to this epidemic of violence," stressed Hagay.

"We will in no way agree to a reality in which the doctors will be abandoned precisely in the place where they are engaged day and night in saving lives."

During the strike on Monday, the healthcare system will operate as it does on Shabbat, with the association operating an exceptions committee for special cases.

Hagay noted that the association's struggle against violence led the previous government to establish police posts in emergency rooms and the initiation of legislation to make the punishment of attackers more severe. The chairman stressed that further action is still needed.