According to the Israeli Medical Association (IMA), which represents the majority of physicians in the nation, doctors in Israel conducted a 24-hour warning strike on Monday.
Following recent episodes of patient and family violence against medical workers, the strike—attended by doctors from public hospitals and clinics around Israel—was called.
Only life-saving procedures and treatments are carried out while workers are on strike, according to the IMA.
According to IMA Chairman Zion Hagai, violence in the healthcare system “has long ago become an epidemic, with red lines being broken virtually every day.”
Last week, a patient attacked a gynecologist at a clinic in the central city of Ramla, and a patient assaulted a pediatrician at Soroka Hospital in the southern city of Beer Sheva.
Despite Moshe Bar Siman Tov, the director-general of the health ministry, urging doctors to hold off on going on strike on Sunday, the strike has already begun.
In a letter to Mr. Hagai, Bar Siman Tov stated that while violence gravely hurts the health system and its staff, the shutdown measures will impact the patients and their everyday lives.
The Israeli government constructed police stations in hospitals and introduced legislation to impose harsher penalties last year.
However, in light of the recent tragedies, doctors are urging dramatically increased security in all healthcare facilities as well as a quickening of legislative processes.
If the requests were not met, the IMA issued a warning that more drastic and extended measures would be implemented.