Doctors on strike again after negotiations fail

After sanctions and a 2-day warning period, all public hospitals to be closed over weekend; nurses at TA's Ichilov join in protest.

Hospital Bed 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Hospital Bed 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Israeli doctors went on strike again Wednesday after renewed negotiations with the Finance Ministry ran aground. Beginning Saturday, all public hospitals in the country will be closed and only cancer treatments will be performed.
Israeli nurses also joined in the protest. At Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, 2,000 nurses were planning to hold a rally on Wednesday afternoon in support of one of their staffers who was the recent victim of a violent attack.
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Several medical institutions sent a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, imploring him to intervene and end the stalemate.
In light of the new strike, the Finance Ministry accused the Israeli Medical Association of ignoring the most vulnerable patients by demanding a raise of 50 percent. "We are ready to handle the real problems of public health," the Finance Ministry said in a statement. "But until [the raise requirement is removed], there will be no progress in negotiations."
Short-lived talks between the IMA and Finance Ministry restarted on Tuesday after a two-week break, but ultimately failed. Prior to entering negotiations on Tuesday, IMA chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman expressed hope for a breakthrough in the talks, vowing to cancel further strikes and sanctions if an agreement could be met.