Nurses in Israel returned to work on Tuesday, a day after launching a nationwide strike on Monday to protest staff shortages exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis.

The National Association of Nurses agreed to end the strike after being promised that the Health and Finance Ministries would provide funding for 2,000 additional nurses at hospitals, HMOs and family health centers.

Finance Minister Israel Katz hailed the agreement.

“The State of Israel owes a great debt to the nurses, who are at the forefront of the struggle for public health,” he said on Monday, according to Hebrew media reports. “Their dedication all year round and during the coronavirus [crisis] in particular, is deserving of our full respect and admiration. I welcome their return to work and undertake to assist them as much as possible to enable them to fulfill their role in the most appropriate way.”

During a visit to the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa on Tuesday morning, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein commented on the deal: “I am not deceiving myself that this is the end of the road. The health-care system in Israel has been starving for decades, and we are at the beginning of the road to stabilizing the system and bringing it to the standards of countries with which we want to compare ourselves.”

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