Three protesters, medical interns and students, were arrested by police when dozens of them gathered near the home of Health Minister Yuli Edelstein in Herzliya Pituach on Monday night, December 14, to demand changes in their work conditions. The crowd of protestors was forcibly cleared from the scene by police.The protesters chanted “We will not go back to the conditions of slavery!” and “Human work conditions or strike!” Months ago the Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Ministry, led by Labor MK Itzik Shmuli, had approved a decision to change the work conditions of interns and medical students, primarily prohibiting their being required to work shifts of 26 straight hours. That decision was set to lapse on Wednesday, December 14, meaning the long shifts could be reinstated if the Health Ministry wouldn’t take action.
This is not the first time the issue has been brought up in protests. In May, some 2,500 interns protested in Tel Aviv, demanding shorter shifts. A key demand of the protesters includes their being paid by the hour for hours worked overtime. Dr. Ray Biton, chair of the Residents Organization “Mirsham,” (Prescription), who was among the protesters arrested on Monday of this week, had said last June, “We’re doing much more than six rotations in a month, and none of us manages to get two hours of sleep during our rotations.”