Netanyahu to Meet Israeli Medical Residents in Bid to End Health System Crisis

Planned meeting would be first time PM, who is acting Health Minister, intervened in talks between Finance Ministry, residents' representatives.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planned to meet the representatives of Israeli medical residents on Monday, in what would be the first time the premier has directly intervened in a crisis that has threatened to topple Israel's public health system.

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.

Netanyahu, Trajtenberg, Shalom
Mark Israel Salem

Late Monday, hundreds of medical residents employed in Israel's public hospitals postponed a planned mass walkout, 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 avert a health system crisis.

On Tuesday, a meeting between government officials and medical residents was disrupted after the residents were notified that they had been summoned to a meeting with the premier, following Netanyahu's session with Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman.

Netanyahu's planned meeting with the residents threw the medical establishment into disarray, since the premier is scheduled to meet only unaffiliated representatives, without summoning representatives from the Israel Medical Association. Finance Ministry officials have also voiced their dissatisfaction the planned meeting.