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Israeli doctors now striking hospitals

JERUSALEM, July 25 (UPI) -- Israel's National Labor Court Monday refused to order an end to a strike by doctors, saying the job action was legal.

After the ruling in Jerusalem, the Israel Medical Association called a strike against the country's public hospitals, refusing to perform all but the most critical procedures, Haaretz reported.

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Doctors in Israel have been on a general strike for 16 weeks, demanding better working conditions.

The Jerusalem Post said the court turned down a request by the resident doctors' union for official representation in negotiations to end the strike. The newspaper said that is a victory for the IMA, which has been criticized by resident doctors for delays, and for agreeing to terms doctors consider less than optimal.

Calls also increased for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to intervene.

Refusing to order doctors back the work, the court said the strike is legal and proportionate.

IMA Chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman said Monday he would stage a hunger strike until the work dispute is resolved, and he criticized Netanyahu for not acting.

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