(photo credit: .)
The Union of Local Authorities in Israel organized demonstrations in intersections throughout the country on Tuesday, in conjunction with strikes to protest government budget cuts of NIS 1100 million.
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The largest of demonstration is near Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, with over 700 protesters. Another 300 are demonstrating at the Carmiel intersection. Other protests are taking place in Yokneam, Nahariya, Yad Mordechai and Bet Shean.
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Local authorities are striking across Israel for one day, in
response to what they say is a breakdown in negotiations with the government
Local authorities have requested that the government return
some NIS 600 million in budget cuts and NIS 500m. in school funding that has
been slashed across the country.
The school system will continue to
operate as normal, but all municipal services, including parking enforcement,
sanitation, road repairs and social services, will be closed. The strike affects
every local authority in Israel, including in the West Bank, but does not
include Jerusalem due to security considerations.
In a statement released
Monday, Union of Local Authorities chairman Shlomo Buhbut said, “Out of a sense
of national responsibility, we agreed to open the school year in spite of the
fact that dozens of municipalities are on the verge of economic collapse and
have no way to pay for the services they are required to give their
Buhbut said that the dire economic straits were the result of
“the government’s decision to stop passing on the mandatory government
He accused the government of “trying to pass the burden [for
municipal services] on to citizens and parents.”
The statement warned
that Tuesday’s strike was “the first of many planned protests, which are the
result of the failure of every effort to reach an agreement with the government
over the course of seven months of negotiations.”
One of the planned
moves is a protest tent that will be pitched outside the Knesset when its winter
session opens next week.
The union added that the national budget for
local authorities in 2002 was NIS 3.4 billion, and that instead of rising over
the past several years, it was set at NIS 2.4b. for the current year.
Interior Ministry spokeswoman refused to comment on the strike itself, but said
that the ministry did support increasing the budgets for local authorities in