The working conditions of interns at hospitals in Israel are bad: hard work, long shifts, insufficient working power, low salary. So they went on strike, demanding more manpower, higher salaries, less working hours. As expected, the government tries to do nothing, to postpone negotiations as much as possible, to minimize the cost of its concessions. After long and futile negotiations the interns made an interesting move: 20% of the interns submitted resignation letters that will become effective on September 4th. Probably one of the interns’ leaders studied game theory, and knows the power of ireversible threat. Though this threat looks irreversible, plainly it is not, but at least for laymen it looks irreversible.

The CEO of the Ministry of Health probably did not study game theory, and does not recognize the power of the threat.  Or maybe he knows that laymen do not know game theory. He is quoted in the newspapers as saying:

“We want to make them rethink about their step: what they really want to achieve, what they already achieved, in particular after the main achievements of the extra positions and the lowered  workload. We also ask them to understand the meaning of their step:  their move is problematic as it causes dysfunction of most hospital units, and of the health system in general.”

and

“After the court hearing, we’ll decide what to do with the letters. Options range from persuasion to explaining that they probably do not understand how things work – perhaps because of naivity or because they believe that this is the right thing to do, to reviewing the legality of the move. ”

In three weeks we will know whether the CEO of the Ministry of Health finally understands the power of threats, or whether the interns  cave in.