Crisis averted? The medical residents decided Saturday to resume their wage negotiations with the Treasury.
The decision was made following an emergency meeting of the residents' representatives, in which they deliberated on whether to follow the High Court's ruling ordering them to retune to their posts, or make their resignations final.
- Interns take stand as more medical residents resign
Medical residents resume struggle
Residents seek Netanyahu's intervention
Though pessimistic, the residents said they will file an official notice of compliance with the High Court, on Sunday. Nevertheless, residents who had already tendered their resignations said they will not return to duty until the negotiations have successfully concluded.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in closed talks with officials from the Health and Finance ministries, said that a situation in which doctors do not abide by court orders was "unacceptable."
Netanyahu was briefed by officials from both ministries about the wage raises and other benefits – including financial aid to medical students – which the residents rejected. Last week the prime minster was quoted by Health Ministry Director General Roni Gamzo as threatening to replace the residents with doctors from India.
Medical students in Debrecen, Hungary in show of solidarity
Medical students across the country said they will boycott classes on Sunday in solidarity with the residents' struggle. The students are to gather for a rally in front of the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, calling on Netanyahu to intervene and solve the crisis.
"The government's faulty conduct over the past few weeks has caused many students to reconsider their future in Israel's public healthcare system," said Anton Vershavski of the Israel Medical Students' Association. "The humiliating treatment, the unrestrained tongue-lashing and the Finance Ministry's mafia-like attitude towards the doctors is causing many students to seek opportunities outside the system."
The Hebrew University's student union has announced that it will hold a school-wide class boycott Sunday, using the time instead to collect signatures from patients at hospitals around the capital in support of the struggle.
The protest movement is not to be confined within state lines, with Israeli medical students in Debrecen, Hungary and Kaunas, Lithuania declaring their support for the medical resident's plight.
"I am 99% sure that I will work in Israel when I complete my studies," said Yoni Persitz, a fourth-year medical student at Debrecen.
"But I'm not sure what the others will do. As a Zionist, it was clear to me all along that I will work and start my family in Israel. Now that months have passed and the doctors' struggle is yet to be solved, I've begun to rethink the idea. Maybe like my fellow students who are not Israeli, I will find my place in one of the (European) countries."
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