Employes of the Magen David Adom (MDA) today began a work stoppage protesting that their salaries had not been paid. The strike effectively shut down all services of Israel’s first aid society.
The employes rejected a last minute appeal from the Health Ministry to call off the strike, saying that the employes’ salaries would be paid into their bank accounts later in the week. The workers, however, contend that they no longer believed the promises of the Ministry, and said that payment at the end of the week would be too late for them to make their pre-Passover purchases.
MDA management blamed the Finance and Health Ministries for not transferring in time allocations due to them. But Health Ministry officials countered, blaming the MDA leadership with mismanagement and saying that funds had been transferred but used by the management for purposes other than salaries. MDA management countered that they had to use available funds to pay for insurance on the ambulances, which would not be able to move on the roads without insurance. A senior MDA official in Jerusalem, asked how the first aid society would react to urgent calls for help, said they would return to work in the event of a terrorist attack, “but God help those in need of our services,” he added.
Shortly after the strike began, an II year-old boy was knocked down by a car in a Jerusalem street and lay unconscious on the roadway, with head injuries. The MDA refused to send an ambulance to take him to the hospital, telling telephone callers that they should make “private arrangements” for a doctor to take him to a hospital in another vehicle.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.