Doctor's strike sign
Doctor's strike signFlash 90

A general strike of doctors and nurses is planned in protest against the judicial reform. The 26 members of the Medical Association's secretariat will today (Thursday) discuss an urgent proposal to shut down the health system in protest of the progress of the legislation, the cancellation of the reasonability clause, and the fear of harm to the independence of the professionals. The discussion will start at 15:00 and is expected to end at 17:00.

Israel Hayom reports that hundreds of doctors are calling on the Medical Association to act, and at the "White Coat" protest conference last Tuesday, the medical teams called to "go into emergency mode."

"We don't want to get to the point where it's too late, and we haven't done anything," said one of the members of the Medical Association Secretariat before the debate. They want to dismantle all the centers of power and the unions. The secretariat is a microcosm of all the parties, all of them under pressure due to the reasonability clause. However, it is still difficult to say with certainty if a strike will be declared."

Prof. Hagai Levin, chairman of the Union of Public Health Physicians, said at noon, before the debate: "We are in a democratic and health emergency. Abolition of the reasonability clause will seriously harm the rights of patients, doctors, the quality of medicine and public health, and the professional autonomy and the training of doctors."

The secretariat's statement, which 90% of the doctors approved, explicitly states that the association must act in case of fear of injury to the medical profession. According to the association's legal counsel, the current state of affairs meets the qualifications to require action.

"We will not be like the scientific and educated intellectuals of Germany in 1933. We will not work in a country that the League of Nations will denounce for tyranny, as indeed is already happening. We will not remain silent." The doctors hint that they will continue to protest even if the Medical Association refrains from making a decision on the issue. "Our voice will be heard whether within the association or within a proper alternative".

350 medical students from all universities also contacted the heads of the Medical Association this morning. "We demand that the Medical Association wake up before it's too late. The letter was written out of love for the country and concern for millions of patients," said Inbal Mandler, a medical student at Ben Gurion University and the initiator of the letter.

"Anti-democratic legislation harms the provision of equal treatment to every person and harms the profession, medical education, and academic research. Therefore, and out of genuine concern for the future of medicine in Israel, we have no choice, and we demand that the doctors operate on the limited basis used on Shabbat (in which doctors do only as much work as is needed to save a life) until the legislation is ratified and a broad consensus is reached."

At a conference on Tuesday, numerous doctors urged the association to take action. Dr. Ze'ev Feldman, chairman of the State Doctors Association, was welcomed on the conference stage with chants of "Strike".

Even when he said on stage, "The message you conveyed through me will reach the secretariat of the Medical Association this coming Thursday", one of the doctors burst out and called: "This is an emergency situation, enter an emergency meeting and shut it down." Others called, "They will do to the Medical Association what they did to the Bar Association. Wake up."

The condition for a strike is a majority in the secretariat of the Medical Association, which makes the decision. At the meeting, it emerged that although about 80-90 percent of the doctors answered the survey of the Medical Association and said that they oppose the regime revolution and wish to strike, in the secretariat of the Medical Association, the body that makes decisions and where the heads of the committees sit, there may be a situation where there will not be a majority for a strike.

Dr. Rani Barnea from the White Coat protest said at the conference: "While you were busy writing articles, people took over the general secretariat, and they are no longer with us."