Israeli Doctors, Finance Ministry Reach Breakthrough; Head of Doctors' Union Ends Hunger Strike

Sides agree on adding 1,000 staff positions and grants for doctors to work in the periphery; remaining demands still under negotiation.

The Finance Ministry and Israeli Medical Association reached a breakthrough Wednesday with both sides agreeing to add 1,000 staff positions, as per the demands of the IMA and medical residents.

The sides also agreed on encouraging doctors to work in the periphery by offering grants of up to NIS 300,000. The parties are still negotiating the doctors' remaining demands.

Israeli Medical Association Chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman during a hunger strike, on August 1, 2011.Olivia Pitusi

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his appreciation of Eidelman's decision to end his hunger strike, saying that the parties must bridge the gaps and end the doctors' strike.

On Tuesday, doctors at several hospitals, who felt that the IMA is not doing enough for the doctors’ struggle,

announced that they would begin a hunger strike

Wednesday, along with other medical staffers who had already stopped eating as part of the cause.

Striking doctors rallying outside the Knesset on Sunday July 31, 2011.AP

On Wednesday, a representative of the medical residents met Eidelman in the protest tent he erected in front of the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem.