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Public hospitals will launch a one-day strike today: Only a skeleton staff will be on duty, outpatient clinics will be closed and there will be no elective surgery.

As of press time, the health clinics were not planning to participate in the strike.

Health officials said they expect doctors to expand their labor protest after Passover if there is no breakthrough in negotiations with the treasury, which are expected to resume this afternoon.

The doctors are seeking better salaries and working conditions and have rejected the Finance Ministry's call for time-limited arbitration.

At the striking hospitals, cancer treatment will take place as usual, a concession the Israel Medical Association said it adopted "to make it easier on the public and in light of slight progress in negotiations."

The strike will take place in general hospitals run by the government and the Clalit health maintenance organization and government-run psychiatric and geriatric hospitals, as well as the privately run Hadassah University Hospital, Shaare Zedek Medical Center and Bikur Holim, all in Jerusalem.

Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon will not be on strike because of concern that there could be injuries related to shelling from Gaza.

Other hospitals that will be operating as usual include Laniado Hospital in Netanya, Ma'ayanei Hayeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak and Assuta Medical Center in Tel Aviv.

All the striking hospitals will have exceptions committees to which patients can appeal if their operations have been postponed.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Health Ministry director general Ronni Gamzu last night in a bid to resolve the strike. The proposals they discussed included instituting private health care in the hospitals and using an arbitration method to which both sides can agree.

The Health Ministry supports increasing funding for public hospitals to help them compete with private medical centers in the afternoon, when many doctors work at a private practice. It said if no funding could be found, it would have to support private health care in the hospitals.