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Daily Israel Report

Medical Residents Reject PM Netanyahu Request to Keep Working

Representatives of the medical residents rejected a request by Prime Minister Netanyahu to wait several more days before resigning.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 10/5/2011, 3:34 PM

Netanyahu
Netanyahu
Flash 90

Representatives of the medical residents met Tuesday evening with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in an attempt to reach a solution that would avert a medical catastrophe, but the meeting was a failure.

During the meeting, Netanyahu asked the representatives to wait several days before they resign en masse and consider new proposals to end the crisis, but the residents refused.

The meeting lasted more than two hours and was also attended by the Chairman of the Israel Medical Association, Dr. Leonid Idelman, and his deputy Dr. Tzaki Ziv-Ner.

The medical residents explained to Netanyahu the problems with the agreement that was reached between the government and the Israel Medical Association to end a 158-day doctors’ strike.

Netanyahu said that he understood the residents’ distress and also stressed the importance of the sacred work of medical practitioners in Israel. He told the residents that he was impressed with their desire to ensure appropriate working conditions for doctors in the public health sector.

The representatives promised Netanyahu they would respond to his request to hold off on their resignation after they consult with their colleagues. The decision, however, was not a positive one, and by the weekend, it is likely that hundreds of residents will walk off the job.

Hundreds of letters of resignation that were supposed to go into effect on Tuesday were put off as residents agreed Monday to postpone their resignation by 48 hours, during which intensive marathon talks with the Finance Ministry over their salaries and conditions were held.

Hospital officials warned Sunday that the planned resignations could cause a medical catastrophe.

The two-day delay was a compromise, agreed upon after residents rejected Chief Labor Court Judge Nili Arad's suggestion for a 10-day delay during which negotiations would go on.

An initial attempt at a mass resignation was ruled illegal, prompting hundreds of residents to file individual resignations instead.