The strike takes place across all hospitals, HMOs, family health centers and school nurse's offices.
The nurses held a rally at the Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer, attended by the leaders of the strike.
Ilana Cohen, the Chairwoman of the National Association of Nurses in Israel, addressed the motivation behind the strike.
“For years we’ve been warning about the violence, which keeps increasing every year. We thought that after the murder of Tovah Kararo last year things will change, but it didn’t happen. The patients keep threatening and harming the nurses,” said the chairwoman.
“Every week, we see violence in hospitals and psychiatric wards. We have appealed to the relevant ministries but no one takes notice,” Cohen vented.
According to the Health Ministry’s statistics, between 2014 and 2016, health system employees have been subjected to more than 3,000 instances of violence. Almost 75 percent of the incidents happened in hospitals, with most of those taking place in emergency rooms. In only a quarter of the incidents, police reports were filed against the assailants.
“The number is higher than 3,000,” added Cohen. “People have been discouraged from reporting to the police, due to the exaggerated amounts of paperwork they have to fill in at police stations and the loss of working days. I’m sorry that we have to strike, but if a solution won’t be found—next time the strike won’t last only one day,” exclaimed the chairwoman.
Last December, the Ministerial Committee to Combat Violence in Hospitals submitted its conclusions, which include a recommendation to establish national security and police units near hospitals across the country, deployment of security cameras in public areas of all medical institutions and distress signal apps for every employee in the field.
Cohen vowed to continue the fight against the growing phenomenon until the government provides an adequate solution.
“We won’t back down in trying to keep this story at the top of the agenda. I’m calling on the prime minister and the health minister to give us a solution. Everyone needs to know that if you threaten a nurse with violence, you’ll be punished...Everything that was promised to us should be implemented,” she continued.
“What do we actually want? For nurses who go to work every morning to know that they will come back safe and sound. What happened on Monday is a terrorist act. The nurse was left completely exposed and had no protection. She came in to take care of the patients and now she herself is hospitalized. What needs to happen for us to be given some kind of protection?” concluded Cohen.