The doctor attacked by a patient with a crowbar
The doctor attacked by a patient with a crowbarCourtesy of the subject

The Healthcare Workers' Union has announced a general strike to be held on Thursday and Friday in all the country's hospitals and health clinics, which will be operate on a Shabbat basis.

The strike declaration follows a series of attacks on doctors by patients, the latest of which occurred this week in a Clalit health clinic in Beer Yaakov, when a patient attacked a doctor with a crowbar.

The chairman of the Medical Association, Prof. Zion Hagai, said that the phenomenon demands a comprehensive solution. The government recently decided to place police booths in emergency rooms and allocate the necessary manpower, but Hagai said this was not enough.

"The government needs to wake up and realize that violence in the health system is a real epidemic," Prof. Hagai said. "We will continue to strike until that is achieved."

He added that local health clinics also need adequate security provisions.

Earlier this week, Y., a doctor at the Clalit Health Fund's clinic in Beer Yaakov, was attacked by Yaakov Haba, a local resident.

In an interview with Channel 13 News, the doctor related, "I was on a phone call, so I asked the patient to wait outside. He refused, so I quickly locked the door, but he broke down the door and he had a crowbar in his hand. He started hitting my head, over and over again. I ran out screaming; I was bleeding from my scalp."

Police intend to indict Haba, who was released from prison for violent offenses only last January, for attempted murder of the doctor. His detention has been extended until Sunday.

Meanwhile, Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of Public Health Services, pointed to "misinformation" around the COVID issue as the source of the current wave of violence. "Today, people are allowed to say anything. Social networks are a free-for-all, with no one monitoring what is posted there. I think the discourse around COVID is what has created this madness and lack of all restraint," she added.