During the rally, Israeli Medical Association Chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – who also serves as the health minister – to intervene.
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"As the public health system is collapsing, the doctors ask you to intervene immediately," Eidelman said. "Mr. Netanyahu, intervene now, resolve to invest in health, together we will decide on a reform that is better for each and every one of you."
Rally 'to save collapsing health system' (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Eidelman, who has been on a hunger strike for the past week, addressed last week's march from Ramat Gan to Jerusalem, saying that "We entered Jerusalem carrying a stretcher bearing the dying public health system. The prime minister can and must shoulder the burden of the stretcher."
'The stronger we're hit, the stronger we get'
Deputy IMA Chairman Dr. Yitzhak Ziv-Ner threatened the government with a drawn-out battle. "We are not your enemies, you don't need to break us," he said, addressing the prime minister and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz. "Time doesn't wear us out, on the contrary; the stronger we're hit, the stronger we become. The wonderful support is empowering us, and we will not stop until we reach our goal."
Opposition Chairwoman Tzipi Livni, who was among the Knesset members attending the rally, told the protesters that their battle "isn't just a struggle for your personal future as doctors in Israel, and it isn't just a struggle for the future of the public health system in Israel – it's a struggle for Israel's medical future."
Marching for solution to health crisis (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
She also slammed Netanyahu for not interfering. "I have seen you fighting for life, and not giving up," she told the doctors. "Don't give up now either, because the entire people of Israel will win this battle. Ladies and gentleman, your outcry will penetrate the room of voluntary isolation, where the prime minister chooses to sit."
The doctors' struggle for better working condition entered its 134th day on Sunday as medical professionals at public hospitals around the country continued their general strike. President Shimon Peres has met with Eidelman earlier in the day, and urged the government and doctors to settle the crisis.
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