Top Israeli Doctors Submit Resignation in Solidarity With Protesting Residents

Health Ministry vows to penalize interns who left work without due notice; 200-300 of Israel's 600 interns leave work for hours-long strike.

About 100 senior doctors submitted their resignation on Tuesday, in an apparent escalation of the residents' struggle against a National Labor Court decision to cancel their previous collective protest resignation.

The move, the first such planned walk-out by senior public health officials, came as hundreds of medical students employed in hospitals across Israel initiated a solidarity strike earlier Tuesday.

Doctors strike - August 24 2011  - Moti Milrod
Moti Milrod

The students, who work at hospitals as part of their last year of their medical studies, left work for an hours-long strike in a show of unity with medical residents, following the ongoing stall in talks between resident representatives and the Finance Ministry.

In a statement issued by the young doctors' leadership, the interns said they would "not be the next slaves of the public health system," criticizing a contentious agreement signed a few months ago by the state and the Israel Medical Association (IMA).

Health Ministry officials were furious over the flash strike, vowing to penalize those interns who left their respective hospitals without notice.

Intern representatives, however, added that they did not fear retribution over the move since they were not represented by the IMA, as they are not officially considered doctors.

It was reported that as many as 200-300 interns were taking part in the solidarity strike, out of the 600 across Israel.

On Monday, the medical residents' protest grabbed headlines once again, as 245 doctors who had previously submitted resignations did not show up for work at several public hospitals.

The affected hospitals were Rambam Medical Center, (87 doctors absent), Ichilov Hospital (50); Meir Hospital (50); Bnei Zion Medical Center (16), Sheba Medical Center (15); Schneider Children's Hospital (15) Wolfson Medical Center (10) and Beilinson Hospital (2).

The move came a day after Supreme Court Justice Hanan Meltzer declared his intention to schedule a hearing on the residents' petition against the injunction issued by the National Labor Court against their resignations.

The Health Ministry said that the hospital departments were operating normally, though there were reports in the morning from Rambam in Haifa of overcrowding in the emergency room and the closure of the orthopedic outpatient clinics.

קראו כתבה זו בעברית: רופאים בכירים באיכילוב הגישו מכתבי התפטרות. בכירים נוספים צפויים להצטרף