Medical Students in Israel Demonstrate Against Bills in Knesset

Israel’s Parliament held a preliminary reading today of two bills designed to ensure doctors for settlements in border and development areas as medical students from both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv universities demonstated against the proposals.

One bill would bar newly licensed doctors from practicing anywhere in Israel but development areas for one year. Medical students would be barred from leaving Israel for three years after receiving licenses.

The second bill would provide special incertives for physicians agreeing to serve in border and development areas. The bills stemmed from the fact that while Israel has one of the highest doctor-population ratios in the world, the ocuntry’s outlying areas lack adequate medical facilities.

The medical students held a protest meeting in which the associate deans of the medical schools and the chairman of the Israel Medical Association took part. The demonstrators called the bills undemocratic. One sign carried in the demonstration read “Doctors for rural areas, yes–Coercion, no.”

Knesset Speaker Kaddish Luz received a delegation and promised the group its members would be invited to appear before the Knesset Committee when the bills come up for first reading.

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