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Strike at Two Government Hospitals, Threat of General Strike in Wake of Threats by Opponents to Auto

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Strikes closed two government hospitals today and a general strike that would shut down all hospitals was threatened as pathologists reacted angrily to the continuing campaign of abuse and death threats by religious zealots opposed to autopsies. Police were sharply criticized for their failure so far to apprehend the perpetrators of threats and harassment of pathologists. The Histadrut Central Committee demanded stronger police measures today and Tel Aviv Municipality issued statements condemning the campaign of abuse.

The chairman of the Pathologists Association asked the Israel Medical Association to consider a general strike at all hospitals because 24-hour strikes at single hospitals have failed to end harassment or to stimulate more vigorous police action. Closed down today were the Tel Hashomer Hospital in Tel Aviv, the country’s largest hospital and the Hillel Yaffe Hospital in Hedera. Pathologists at both hospitals had received threatening letters. Authorities estimated that at least 60 pathologists are threatened or harassed each day in hospitals all over the country.

A spokesman for the Pathologists Association sharply rejected a “mediation” offer by Avraham Verdigger, a Knesset member of the Orthodox Poalei Agudat Israel faction. He told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency “The offer is like that of a burglar who calls on you to negotiate a compromise after he has forced entry into your home.” He said the attacks on pathologists were a crime and it was up to the police to bring the guilty parties to justice.

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