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Doctors Stage 24-hour Strike

The Beilinson Hospital near here–the largest hospital of the Histadrut sickfund–was manned by a skeleton staff today as its physicians maintained a 24-hour strike in protest against Orthodox extremist threats against pathologists for conducting autopsies. The strike followed the receipt of a bullet attached to a note reading: “This time it is through the mail. Next time–if dissection of the dead is continued–it will be through your head.”

The medical staffs of the various hospitals have decided on an automatic 24-hour strike wherever its pathologists are threatened. The large Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem will thus be closed tomorrow, except for emergencies, as a result of receipt of another bullet and note today. An anonymous telephone call to the Pathological Institute here, warning that bombs would go off if the institute did not relinquish its corpses for burial, was determined after a police search to have been a hoax.

Meanwhile, Police Minister Shlomo Hillel appeared before the Knesset’s Health and Civil Services Committee last night to answer charges by the Physicians Association that the police are not dealing with the threats against pathologists with sufficient vigor. Hillel said every possible action was being taken and reported the detention of several suspects. But he was unable to report any investigative success.

The Medical Association of Israel has decided that if the threats do not end, it may consider a nationwide strike, which would paralyze the country’s health services, affecting governmental, municipal and private hospitals.

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