Israeli Medical Residents Postpone Mass Walkouts in Compromise With Health Ministry

According to last-minute deal, residents, ministry officials will use 48-hour postponement to hold intensive talks to end public health system crisis.

Hundreds of medical residents employed in Israel's public hospitals postponed a walkout late Monday, after reaching a court-mediated compromise with the Health Ministry.

According to the deal reached, the residents will push their planned mass resignation back by 48 hours, in which time the two sides are scheduled to hold intensive talks in an attempt to reach a final agreement that would prevent the collapse of Israel's public health system.

Medical residents - Nir Kafri - 12092011
Nir Kafri

The compromise was reached after President of the National Labor Court Nili Arad proposed a plan according to which the residents would postpone their walkout by 10 days, so as to allow court-supervised negotiations to take place.

Talks are scheduled to open at 1 P.M. Tuesday at the Finance Ministry in Jerusalem.

Since the HMO Clalit withdrew its name from the state's appeal against the walkout, it remains to be seen if a compromise reached during the court-supervised process would include Clalit doctors too.

Although the Israel Medical Association struck an agreement with the Finance Ministry in August, hundreds of medical residents remain dissatisfied with their work conditions and submitted letters of resignation. About 80 percent of those letters have an effective date sometime this week.