Doctors at Jerusalem's Hadassah Medical Centers in Ein Kerem and Har HaZofim (Mount Scopus) went on strike Tuesday until further notice, Walla! reports.
Hundreds of staff are sitting out the day in protest over the hospital's budget deficit of more than a billion shekels ($286 million) and the dragging out of negotiations with the Finance Ministry.
Doctors claim that the move is pushing the negotiations to continue and thereby promote an increase in the hospital's budget. In addition, hospital staff have only been paid half their salaries this month due to the deficit, according to the Israeli news site.
During the strike, there will be no non-urgent medical procedures at clinics (including privately-paid procedures), non-urgent operations and same-day care, except for oncology units.
During an assembly of all medical staff, Dr. Sagit Arbel-Alon, of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Hadassah Ein Kerem, read a letter she had written to Finance Minister Yair Lapid. Arbel-Alon called on Lapid to intervene and prevent the closure of the hospital.
A representative of the interns, Dr. Meir Mizrahi, said at the meeting that the doctors are frustrated at the talks, which are going nowhere.
"We are at a crossroads where we have to decide what we can do so that the state will join us and help us save Hadassah," said Dr. Mizrahi. "We have established a website and a Facebook page to rescue Hadassah."
Israel Medical Association Chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman said that it was necessary to strike.
"There is no other way to convey the message that Hadassah cannot continue to bleed financially," said Edelman. "The Prime Minister needs to wake up and realize that it's time to bring in a 'supertanker' and bring a solution. I ask the doctors to be strong. We will continue to fight for Hadassah. Join us and we will win."