Public Health Staff Plan Strike if Overhaul Not Halted

Staff at public hospitals plan to go on strike if the government doesn’t halt its fascist efforts to overhaul the judiciary, according to a report Thursday. According the Israel Medical Association there is a consensus among public health workers on the matter.

Doctors holds a sign saying “The doctors are fighting for the life of democracy,” at a rally against the far-right government in the Ben-Gurion International Airport, July 11, 2023 (Photo: Zo Haderech)

The strike is in the way being after criticism was expressed Tuesday by doctors in the White Coats protest group against the union for not doing enough to highlight the damage the government’s proposals may cause to the public health system.

Over a two thousand doctors on Thursday penned a letter to the union’s chair, Professor Zion Hagay, urging him to declare a strike until the “complete trashing of the overhaul,” charging that the plans will harm “the quality of medicine in Israel, will harm patients, and undermine the great achievements of Israeli medicine.” “We are not ready to turn into the intellectuals, scientists, and educated of Germany in 1933,” the letter read, likening potential consequences of the overhaul to the Nazis’ purge of intellectuals in Germany during their rise to power.

Hundreds of medical students also issued a plea to Hagay to call a strike over the proposals: “It will cause a brain drain, Israel’s academic isolation, and allow political officials to take control of medical education and research in Israel.” In addition, leaders of the protest movement against the far-right government shakeup said Thursday that they would hold another day of nationwide protests this coming Monday.

The day, branded a “day of resistance,” comes following Tuesday’s “day of disruption,” in which tens of thousands of anti-government protesters blocked streets and roads across the country in response to the Knesset passing the first reading of a controversial bill to curtail the Supreme Court’s oversight powers. Police arrested 120 protesters during last Tuesday’s nationwide “day of disruption.”

According to organizers, Monday will once again see protest action and road blockings across the country, with further disruptive actions taking place throughout the week. Protesters held rallies Thursday evening at key locations, including outside Netanyahu’s residences in both Jerusalem and Caesarea as well as at the US embassy in Tel Aviv.