TEL AVIV (Jul. 14)
Finance Minister Moshe Nissim said Thursday he might resign if the Cabinet approves a proposed 5 percent salary increment for doctors at public hospitals.
He told Israel Radio that he urged the Cabinet to reject the increase on grounds that it would undermine the foundations of the existing wage structure in the public sector, which is intended to reduce the annual inflation rate.
The increase is the center of a compromise agreement reached by Health Ministry and Histadrut representatives to end the current health care crisis.
It would compensate doctors for second-shift duty in operating rooms that would reduce the huge backlog of patients waiting for non-emergency surgery.
The doctors, demanding extra pay, have been applying selective work sanctions against state run hospitals and those of Kupat Holim, Histadrut’s health care agency.
Their initial reaction to the compromise was a wary wait-and-see.
The proposal was credited to Premier Yitzhak Shamir, who heads an ad hoc committee set up in June–with Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Health Minister Shoshana Arbeli-Almoslino–to resolve the situation at the hospitals.
Nissim said he would not rule out resignation if the Cabinet ignored his objections to the deal. But his final decision would depend on the outcome of Sunday’s Cabinet meeting.