doctor protest
Doctors protesting with a bonfire in Tel Aviv on morning on May 22, 2011. Photo by Moti Milrod
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Doctors are expected to intensify their nationwide strike on Friday, a move that could lead to the unification of several medical departments in hospitals throughout Israel.

The Israel Medical Association announced that doctors will return to work Friday according to contracts that were established in 1977 and last signed in 2000.

As part of the strike, the association will prohibit rotations of specialists (apart from in delivery rooms), and will allow up to six rotations for residents. Specialists, apart from those who are on-call, will be prohibited from remaining at hospitals past 4 P.M., regardless of need.

"After 10 months of fruitless negotiations, the health system will start working according to the agreed-upon standards," the medical association said in a statement. "The doctors are not willing to continue to try and solve systematic problems."

On Thursday afternoon, the National Labor Court is due to discuss a government appeal on the decision not to issue an injunction against the striking doctors.

The Health Ministry is planning to present its recommendations for regulating hospital rotations in an attempt to create a breakthrough in the negotiations between the doctors and the Finance Ministry.