Israel: Netanyahu Threatens to Replace Interns with Indian Doctors

Israeli medical interns were one of the most prominent sectors in the social protest that stirred Israel this summer and one of the few sectors that have kept striking until a fair agreement is reached. Their struggle has been occupying the front pages of the Israeli newspapers in the last couple of days; Friday 18 November's newspapers have quoted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggesting to the Ministry of Health to replace the interns with foreign labor contractors from India, if an agreement can not be reached with them.

This shocking remark, coming from the Prime Minister against the backdrop of poor labor conditions across sectors and the government's tightening control on foreign labor through discontinuing of visas, has been the top conversation topic online over the weekend.

As critique over social media is often presented in the form of humor and sarcasm, many Israeli interns have replaced their profile pages on Facebook to pictures of Indian doctors as seen in the profiles collection on Ido Keinan's blog, who reported the phenomenon first.

Message on the wall reads: "Bibi, you live in a Bollywood movie!"

Israeli interns change thier profile pictures to those of Indian doctors to protest Prime Minister Netanyahu's intent to replace them with foreign labor contractors

Israeli interns change thier profile pictures to those of Indian doctors to protest Prime Minister Netanyahu's intent to replace them with foreign labor contractors

Israelis have been posting to the Facebook page of “civilians supporting the interns struggle” pictures of Gandhi or of Netanyahu wearing a Sikh turban, subtitled: “Wanted – an Indian PM” or “We can import an Indian PM too”, as well as digitally-manipulated pictures of Netanyahu's wife in an Indian sari.

Caption reads "We can import a PM from India too"

On Twitter @orbar wondered:

When they bring doctors form India will they instruct Oz bullies (the police unit responsible for capturing illegal foreign workers) to ask for medical diplomas?

@nitayp suggests:

I have a solution for this crisis: if the inters call themselves settlers instead of interns suddenly their demands will seem natural and reasonable

Famous Journalist and Television critique Rannan Shaked tweeted:

Bring doctors from India, social workers from Denmark, trains from Japan and community services from Sweden. Only keep bringing the Prime Ministers from your butt.

In a more serious tone, opposition Knesset member, Dov Khenin tweeted:

Netanyahu: “bring doctors from India”. The essence of Capitalism in 3 words. And when these doctors will learn Hebrew and learn to organize their labor, we will deport them and import others from China.

* Many thanks to Elizabeth Tsurkov for her help with curating the tweets.

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