Israel’s nurses strike goes to court as work stoppage enters second day

“The nurses and male nurses in Israel are shouting the cry of Israeli citizens,” nurses union leader Ilana Cohen told an Israeli broadcaster.

By World Israel News Staff 

The Israel Labor Court heard on Wednesday the state’s request for a restraining order to stop a nurses’ strike from impacting the country’s health funds. The strike is entering its second day.

At the hearing, a top Health Ministry official proposed a three-week hiatus in order to establish a dialogue with the strikers.

“I am familiar with the problems in the health system and know that the nurses work hard,” said Moshe Bar Simantov, director-general of the Israel Health Ministry.

The nurses are protesting against overwork and low salaries. The strike was declared as “open-ended.”

Iris Avital, a public health nurse in the town of Ramla, told Kan public radio that the strike “was forced upon us,” saying that the number of positions for baby care nurses has been reduced since 2013 from 1,200 to 900 even as the population has grown.

She says that the shortage has meant that appointments are not available for mothers of newborns.

“The nurses and male nurses in Israel are shouting the cry of Israeli citizens who are humiliated by lying in beds in the [hospital] corridors in sub-human conditions” due to overcrowding, said nurses union leader Ilana Cohen, in an interview with Kan TV.

She said that small children are not getting inoculations at the proper time.

Reduced staff is on duty for the duration of the strike and smaller support teams are working in emergency units such as intensive care, maternity wards, dialysis divisions, and oncology departments.

Operations are not being conducted unless deemed urgent.