Walk toward doctors' strike - David Bachar - July 2011
Doctors and residents marching during a doctors' strike in July 2011. Photo by David Bachar
Text size

Doctors from cities across Israel marched Thursday as part of their ongoing strike, in parallel to the march by the heads of the Israel Medical Association in Jerusalem, who were joined by opposition leader Tzipi Livni.

Doctors from Hillel Yaffeh Medical Center marched through the center of Hadera, and doctors from Abarbanel Mental Health Center and Wolfson Medical Center marched in Bat Yam. Doctors from the city hospital also marched in Nahariya.

The IMA march to Jerusalem, which set out from Ramat Gan on Monday, was stopped by police on Thursday morning at Harel junction, just outside Jerusalem, when the marchers refused to follow police orders to stay off the highway, and use side paths for part of the journey.

40 people are taking part in the IMA march, which is led by the head of the association Dr. Leonid Eidelman, who is on hunger strike. They have been supported by opposition leader Tzipi Livini, Kadima MK Rachel Adato.

This morning, President Shimon Peres asked Dr. Eidelman in a phone call to rethink his hunger strike, urging him, as President, to “guard your health and your strength, you are dear to us.”

“Come back to the negotiating table as fast as you can, in order to bridge the gaps and find a fair solution for all sides that will bring an end to the suffering of Israel’s sick, and will bring a change to the conditions of the doctors, and of course, that will improve public health care in Israel.”

Eidelman thanked the President for his support of Israel’s public health care system, and told him that he was good health.

On Wednesday, the IMA announced further strike action that they are preparing for next week: On Sunday there will be a general strike in all hospitals, and they will operate as they do on Saturdays. On Monday and Wednesday there will be disruptions in operating theaters and only oncological and emergency procedures will be carried out. On Tuesday and Thursday, staff at outpatient clinics, institutes and day care departments will go on strike.

Widespread protests took place on Wednesday, with hundreds of doctors taking part. The central protests took place on Wednesday afternoon in Haifa, with 150 specialist and resident doctors from Haifa hospitals.