Technical colleges across the country went on strike on Sunday to protest against government budget cuts, including Shenkar College, Tel-Hai College and the Technological College of Beersheba.

While other universities celebrated the beginning of academic year, students and faculty at technical colleges spent the first day of classes protesting and demanding the government provide them with more funding following NIS 40 million in budget cuts.

“The government continues its anti-social policy,” said MK Isaac Herzog, chairman of the Knesset Lobby for Technical Colleges. “It continues to neglect engineers who are a growth engine of the economy.

“Ignoring this problem is a direct hit to the thousands of students from the periphery for whom studying engineering is the only chance at a prestigious profession and escaping the cycle of distress,” Herzog continued. “It’s time for the prime minister to understand that this is an emergency situation and intervene immediately to transfer NIS 40m. in order to be able to open the school year.”

Interior Minister Eli Yishai also spoke out on Sunday in support of the colleges.

“The State of Israel and the Education Ministry must find funding for these technical colleges, which are vital to economic growth,” he said.

He added that the government is “shooting itself in the foot” by cutting funding from these institutes since “hurting them causes damage not just to the economy but also to the residents of the periphery.”

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