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In a historic breakthrough, the finance and health ministries have reached an agreement with Histadrut labor federation chair Ofer Eini over a divorce between the union and the Clalit health maintenance organizations.

The agreement, which should be ready for Knesset approval shortly, will also affect the National Workers Organization and its Leumit Health Fund.

The assumption is that Eini's agreement to the deal will facilitate its approval in the Knesset. Over the past eight years, the finance, health and justice ministries have tried - and failed - four times to pass a bill changing the corporate structure of Israel's health maintenance organizations.

The fly in the ointment? The fact that the country's other two HMOs, Meuhedet and Maccabi, were left out of the arrangement, and will not be getting the administrative reform they need. According to the agreements, one third of the HMOs' board members will be appointed by the union.