As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear to the foreign media in two dozen recent interviews in English that he will go ahead with his judicial reform and intends to change the way judges are chosen, the White Coats organization of physicians and other medical professionals are calling on their compatriots to shut down the economy.
“In the State of Israel, every person must obey the rulings of the High Court of Justice, the Supreme Court [and lower courts], since only they are the authorized party to definitively determine the legal situation. No man is above the law,” they wrote.
“A government that does not obey the law and the courts violates the basic contract between it and the citizens. Therefore, it is clear that if the prime minister and his ministers deliberately refuse to uphold the court’s or give public servants instructions that contradict the ruling, then they are leading a criminal and dictatorial government that has lost its legitimacy, and it should not be obeyed. According to the statements of Prime Minister Netanyahu and his ministers, they intend to break the law.”
The White Coats continued that “in this situation of constitutional crisis, we will not report to work until the government returns to respecting the rulings of the court. The responsibility for the disruptions in the health system will be placed entirely on the prime minister and his ministers who led to it.”
The organization called on “the Israel Medical Association and the Histadrut-General Labor Association and all citizens, bodies and companies loyal to the law, to declare in advance that in the event of a constitutional crisis, the economy will be shut down until the premier and his ministers return to obeying the law.”
One can join the White Coats on WhatsApp.
Israeli medical residents, interns will flee the country
Meanwhile, Channel 12 news reported a survey by the Mirsham organization of medical residents and interns that large numbers will leave the country and “relocate,” while many of those studying abroad will stay there.
Only 14% answered the survey said that they do not intend to leave Israel. Fully 38% of the residents and medical students responded that they intend to go on an internship or relocation as soon as they finish their current professional phase; 27% stated that they will relocate or do an internship abroad and leave soon; and 21% that they had not yet made a decision.
The main reason (77%) was the coalition’s judicial overhaul that would greatly harm their ability to practice medicine and cause politicization of medical decisions by the establishment along with the social rifts that the overhaul plans have caused, they said. Other reasons were economic (54%) and the difficult working conditions here (39%) compared to many countries abroad.
Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar Siman Tov is very concerned that the emigration of large numbers of Israeli physicians would cause catastrophic damage to the health system here. He held a meeting with Mirsham representatives and heard the alarming findings of the survey.
Bar Siman Tov said he was very upset by what they said and promised to present their message to the prime minister and health minister. “We understand that there is a problem that needs attention. I am troubled by the data, and of course, we will review it. Regardless of the current feelings, I understand that it is right to act to make a change for the better in the working conditions of the residents.”
Mirsham chairwoman Dr. Rey Biton commented: “The word ‘relocation’ is everywhere. We constantly receive inquiries and requests from doctors about going abroad, but despite everything, we are here because we like being here and take care of our patients who are at the forefront of our minds.”