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Employees at Wolfson Medical Center ended their strike at the Holon hospital on yesterday, after reaching an agreement with management. The workers had refused to see any patients, other than in emergencies, yesterday morning.

The impetus for the strike was a dispute with hospital director Dr. Moshe Mashiach. Batya Levy, chair of the hospital workers committee, said on Tuesday that Mashiach refused to give one of the hospital's employees benefits due to him since January 2003.

"He [Mashiach] said he wants to check, wants a committee, wants data. Everything was granted - but the employee has not received what he is due," Levy said.

Following extensive negotiations, an agreement had been reached by yesterday afternoon on the payment of benefits to workers.

Levy noted on Tuesday that the Health Ministry asked her to postpone the strike until after the Rosh Hashanah holiday , but Levy refused to accede to the request.

"We have suffered enough since January and the time has come to put an end to this problem," Levy said.

Health Ministry sources expressed surprise at Levy's decision to go ahead with striking the entire hospital for the sake of a dispute concerning just one employee. Levy said that she is indeed prepared to strike the entire hospital for the sake of a single employee.

Health workers threaten strike

Representatives of 80 administrative workers committees in hospitals, frail-care facilities and geriatric centers are threatening a general strike unless the Finance Ministry retracts a decision to close three hospitals.

The committee members say hundreds of workers will be laid off as a result of the planned closure of the Fliman, Abarbanel and Malben-Rishon Letzion medical facilities and that patients will also suffer.

As a first step, the workers are planning sanctions. Sources in the Health Ministry say they sympathize with the workers but cannot condone sanctions that will harm the patients.