Netanyahu  - Emil Salman - 11092011
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo by Emil Salman
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On Tuesday, Netanyahu asked representatives of Israel's medical residents to postpone their planned walkout for a few days, in order to afford him time to weigh the different proposals geared at ending what could be a severe crisis in Israel's public health system.

The premier's request came following a two-hour meeting with the medical residents' representatives, a session which represented Netanyahu's first direct intervention in the months-long dispute.

Although the Israel Medical Association struck an agreement with the Finance Ministry in August, hundreds of medical residents remain dissatisfied with their work conditions, and submitted letters of resignation which were due to come into effect on Monday.

However, the residents agreed to postpone their planned walkout, as part of a last-minute compromise deal with government officials, struck with the mediation of the National Labor Court.

Following their meeting with the PM on Tuesday, the residents said they would consider Netanyahu's request to further postpone their planned resignation.

A joint statement issued Tuesday by the residents' representatives, the IMA, and Netanyahu said that the PM understood the residents' distress and was "impressed by their desire to ensure proper work conditions and to secure a future for doctors in the public health system."