Marathon Talks Fail to Settle Strike by Israeli Physicians

A marathon negotiating session over the weekend failed to settle the weeklong doctors’ strike, which has reduced public health services to the bare minimum in Israel.

The talks involved the doctors, the Histadrut labor federation, the Israel Medical Association and representatives of the Finance and Health ministries. The talks started as soon as the Sabbath ended Saturday night and continued through most of Sunday, to no avail.

The public got a 12-hour respite however. Physicians worked a full schedule Sunday while the negotiations were in progress.

But on Monday morning, they reverted to work sanctions that have virtually closed down hospitals and outpatient clinics operated by the government and by Kupat Holim, the Histadrut health care agency.

All elective surgery has been indefinitely postponed.

The strike began July 1 when some 12,000 Kupat Holim doctors walked off the job to protest the Treasury’s cancellation of overtime pay for working a second shift in operating rooms.

A similar number of doctors employed at government hospitals and public health clinics joined them two days later.

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