Opinion: Just as we doctors vow to never abandon our patients, our politicians should do the same, especially in the throes of a pandemic that is ravaging our already struggling healthcare system and destroying our economy

I had a front row seat to Tuesday night’s horror show as the Knesset dissolved and plunged Israel into its fourth election in less than two years.

I was there wearing two hats. I am a doctor on a hospital ward, struggling with the increasing deluge of new coronavirus patients and trying to turn the tide of a pandemic that threatens to wash us all away.

בני גנץ ובנימין נתניהו
Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Prime MInister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: AP)


But I am also a member of a workers’ committee examining the conditions in hospitals for medical interns forced to shoulder the heavy burden of safeguarding the public health.

How dare our politicians behave like this? They should be ashamed of their negligence as they bicker and squabble over power.

The country’s health system is battling a pandemic that not only influences the health of the Israeli public but the fabric of its society and its economy. And our leaders have chosen politics over the greater good.

Israel’s health system is a hotchpotch of associations, health maintenance organizations and a military system stitched together into the apparatus we know today.

מחלקת טיפול נמרץ קורונה בבית החולים איכילוב
Treating coronavirus patients at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv (Photo: TPS)


These various moving parts frequently fail to work together well, if at all, and successive governments have opted for a band aid to solve a problem that requires surgery.

The decision to go to elections while the coronavirus is still ravaging the country is a classic example of Israeli politicians opting short term successes over desperately needed long-term change.

And now, when the pandemic has finally exposed the true sorry state of our healthcare system, we are being forced into an election that leaves the entire country in stagnation and exacts a heavy price from the state coffers.

בנימין נתניהו, יולי אדלשטיין ורן סער
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu


Every shekel wasted on political parties and campaign funding will ultimately cost a human life. Every shekel means one less doctor, one less MRI machine, one less state-funded treatment.

I understand our leaders’ reasoning, as illogical as it is. When they cannot cope with the current reality, they run off and hope for a different one when they return.

But reality can change only if we work together. Just as we doctors vow to never abandon our patients, I beg of our leaders to do the same.

As reported by Ynetnews