Economic Protests Mount in Israel as Nurses Join the Fray
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s headaches got worse Monday morning when thousands of nurses throughout the country launched a general strike, protesting the terms of their employment, lack of manpower and extreme overwork. The strike was declared after last-minute negotiations between the nurses union and the Finance Ministry, which continued throughout the night, stalled in the early morning hours. As a result of the national strike, all medical facilities in Israel will be affected. Operating rooms and hospitals will run at minimum capacity and all non-urgent procedures will be canceled. Any coronavirus testing and treatment, meanwhile, will be fully manned and proceed unharmed. In a bizarre turn of events, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein arrived Monday morning at a Tel Aviv hospital and voiced his support for the strike, which was launched against the system in which he is a key cog. “I’m with you in your struggle,” Edelstein promised, calling on the Finance Ministry, which is occupied by his colleague and fellow Likud member Israel Katz, to act swiftly. The recent strike joins a rash of strikes, sit-ins and protests by various groups and sectors in Israel. On Sunday, thousands of social workers protested in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, blocking highways and disturbing traffic in the battle for higher wages and improved terms. Over the weekend, mass protests erupted for the second week in a row over the prime minister’s handling of the health and economic crises gripping the nation.