תמונה של משה בר סימן טוב
Moshe Bar-Siman-Tov
Photo: Uriel Cohen
Tel Aviv's open air Carmel Market is filled with maskless shoppers as Israel eases restrictions

Health Ministry is no less important than Defense Ministry

Opinion: This central facet of modern government has a direct impact on the lives of all Israelis but is again threatened by budget cuts, even after our doctors and nurses led us out of the worst global health crisis of modern times

Moshe Bar-Siman-Tov |
Published: 05.07.21 , 13:45
Israel is nearing the end of the biggest health crisis in modern times and its hospital and healthcare system have proven to be outstanding.
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  • Their work has resulted in this country being among the first to return to normality since the coronavirus pandemic began.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    בוטלה חובת עטיית המסכה בשטח פתוח
    בוטלה חובת עטיית המסכה בשטח פתוח
    Tel Aviv's open air Carmel Market is filled with maskless shoppers as Israel eases restrictions
    (Photo: AP)
    The importance of the health system is without question and its impact on all of us is critical. Why then is the Health Ministry not considered an important portfolio for politicians vying for positions during coalition talks?
    And why are the various political parties not fighting for control of the ministry when it urgently needs an adequate budget and long-term planning to meet the health challenges ahead?
    The Health Ministry cannot be less important than the Defense Ministry, which is considered a prize awarded only to the most powerful coalition partners. Few ministries have a more direct impact on the lives of Israelis.
    But incredibly, we are hearing talk of budget cuts and reductions in hospital staff in the post-pandemic economic plans, and doctors are already threatening to go on strike if more money is invested in the health system.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    מחלקת הקורונה בהדסה עין כרם
    מחלקת הקורונה בהדסה עין כרם
    Medical teams treat a coronavirus patient at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem
    (Photo: Amit Shabi)
    Israel's health system had never suffered from overstaffing. Anyone who has had the misfortune of waiting for hours in a hospital emergency room knows that every major medical center suffers from a dire shortage of doctors, nurses, technicians and even orderlies.
    At the same time the Israeli population is ageing and will place increasing demands on medical services.
    The Israel Medical Association is prepared to let its members go on strike to protect the future of the country's health care system. This is not only about jobs; they fear overcrowded facilities and compromised medical provision.
    Just last month, during Israel's Independence Day celebrations, the nation's medics were singled out as heroes and saluted in the state ceremony on Mount Herzl, with the participation of the president and the prime minister, and televised live to every home in the country.
    But that is not enough to cure an already ailing system.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    Nurses chosen as torch bearers during Independence Day ceremony
    Nurses chosen as torch bearers during Independence Day ceremony
    Nurses were chosen as torch bearers to honor their service during the pandemic at the Independence Day ceremony last month
    (Photo: Herzliya Studios)
    The robustness of our healthcare is only dwelt upon in times of crisis, and its dedicated teams are asked to keep going even when their ability to provide services is under threat.
    Our elected leaders must understand the importance of our healthcare system, see it as vital and realize they can really leave their mark in the Health Ministry.
    If they did that, they would find dedicated professionals of the highest caliber, people who have already shown they can deliver results that make other nations envious and are willing to take Israel's health system to the next level.
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