Signing resignation letters.
Signing resignation letters.Israel news photo: Flash 90

Representatives of the hundreds of medical residents who have handed in resignation letters walked out of a meeting with Finance Ministry officials Sunday night. Many residents said that they will not show up for work Monday.

The health system is preparing for disruption of its activities. Senior doctors have warned that entire hospital departments may have to be closed down.

Residents' representatives said that the Finance Ministry officials did not listen to their arguments and even warned them – "We have enough doctors who can replace you – you are free to go."

Residents said this was the "low point" of the meeting, at which some of them decided that there was no point in continuing the discussion.

 The Finance Ministry, they said, has no real intention of reaching a solution, only a will to play for time and postpone the moment at which the residents begin to walk out. Finance Ministry sources, on the other hand, accused the residents of being obdurate and of thinking only of their own private gain, not the good of the system.

The meeting ended abruptly after five hours of argument, when the residents walked out.  

The President of the National Labor Court, Judge Nili Arad, is to receive a report on the negotiations Monday morning and decide whether to order the residents to work, as the State requires.