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Clalit Health Services intends to triple the salaries of the doctors who excel relative to other staff, the HMO's CEO said yesterday. Zeev Vurembrand told a conference hosted by TheMarker magazine, "At Clalit, especially in the Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva, a cadre of 100-150 stellar doctors was created, whose resourcefulness proved itself in difficult situations in which there was a need to hospitalize patients in critical condition."

He stated, "these doctors earn NIS 40,000 a month, which in my eyes is mediocre compared to their contribution." Vurembrand declared he wants to triple their salaries to NIS 120,000 or more at a monthly cost of several million shekels, but he needs approval from the Finance Ministry, which, he said, "supervises financial management of the HMOs."

The Clalit chief stressed that the plan to raise significantly the salaries of excelling doctors serves to convince them to cease or minimize their private practices inside and outside the hospital, to deter them from leaving Clalit or Israel, and to avoid requests to transfer from areas like Be'er Sheva to the center of the country.

Other business leaders at the conference, which displayed the top 50 firms in which to work, shared their concerns about the economy.

Former Microsoft Israel CEO Arie Scope and current chair of A Computer for Every Child NGO, said the primary weakness of Israeli companies is the lack of entrepreneurial spirit among their workers. He said the problem is that managers "ignore the principle thing - encouraging workers to become bearers of innovative and even unexpected ideas meant to reinvigorate the organization."

Eli Younes, CEO of Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot, said most workers don't seek challenges but stability, combined with promotions. He addressed the fact that many deemed desirable are monopolies or duopolies like the Israel Electric Corporation. "The chance in these companies to identify workers with innovative ideas is low because usually they are not interested in changes, but rather in maintaining the status quo."