Israeli Health Minister Moshe Arbel has filed an injunction against a 24-hour strike by the Israeli Medical Association, claiming that it could harm patients and does not meet the criteria for protest strikes. A labor court received the appeal on Tuesday.
Arbel and Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar Siman Tov held a meeting on Monday night with Deputy Attorney General Avital Sompolinsky and representatives from the State Attorney General’s Office regarding the strike.
The IMA, which represents 97% of the country’s doctors, announced the strike after the Knesset voted into law an amendment to Basic Law: The Judiciary that limits the Supreme Court’s use of the so-called reasonableness standard.
Members of the union across the country are participating, with only emergency and critical cases being treated. Hospitals are operating in “Shabbat” mode on Tuesday, with emergency rooms operating as usual. Jerusalem hospitals and community clinics were exempted from the strike.
According to the injunction, the strike could lead to “significant disruptions across state hospitals” and “cause harm to patients.” The court scheduled an urgent hearing for 10:30 a.m. local time.
“A 24-hour protest strike, in the health system as a whole, and at the timing of this case—when the strike broke out less than 24 hours from the date of its announcement, does not comply with the proportionality rules of protest strikes,” said the injunction.
The Israel Medical Association held a two-hour “warning strike” last week.
Thousands of protesters massed in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem on Monday night following the Monday afternoon Knesset vote on the “reasonableness” bill. Opposition lawmakers boycotted the third and final vote.
Protest leaders have vowed to continue the mass demonstrations that have roiled Israeli society since the new government took power at the end of last year.
Israeli Prime Minister and author Benjamin Netanyahu made a televised statement following the vote to reassure Israelis that democracy was in no way threatened by the judicial reform legislation.
“Today, we performed a necessary democratic step,” said Netanyahu, adding, “realizing the will of the voters is not the end of democracy… it is the essence of democracy.”
Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate
Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Newsdesk Manager
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