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Israel's healthcare system declares strike after Knesset passes controversial bill

Ministry of Health slams the decision, saying it endangers lives

Healthcare workers demonstrate outside the Histadrut building in Tel Aviv during a 24-hour strike in response to the government's judicial overhaul, July 25, 2023. (Photo: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The Israeli health system declared a strike on Tuesday after the Knesset passed the contentious Reasonableness Standard Bill on Monday afternoon.

A whopping 73% of Israel's medical residents oppose the judicial overhaul, according to the Residents’ Organization.

In addition, the Israel Medical Association (IMA) announced that doctors would not work for 24 hours in protest against the Netanyahu coalition's judicial reforms.

"It has been decided in the organization to support the call of the “White Coats” and to call on all residents to join emergency assemblies across the country tomorrow and switch to working on an emergency basis," stated the Residents’ Organization.

They confirmed that hospital emergency rooms will continue to operate as usual.

IMA head Zeev Feldman warned that, if needed, the current strike "could escalate into a full strike in the healthcare system.”

Dr. Tal Brosh, the head of the Infectious Diseases Unit at Israel's Assuta Hospital said the strike is a message to the government that its controversial judicial reform is undermining the nation's healthcare system.

“The doctors’ protest today represents the unequivocal position that the legislation will harm the Israeli healthcare system,” Brosh said.

“The IMA has, over the years, monitored the Health Ministry and its actions and almost always managed to promote the healthcare system [via appeals to the courts] while using the reasonableness doctrine,” he added.

Israeli Health Minister Moshe Arbel blasted the national healthcare system’s decision to strike, saying it endangers lives.

“The protests should be held outside or in the streets, but not inside the hospitals and not at the expense of patient’s health,” Arbel stated while adding that it is "important and appropriate to enable criticism of the government."

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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