(photo credit: .)
Municipal services came to a halt across the country on Tuesday, as the Union of
Local Authorities in Israel called a one-day warning strike to protest what it
calls a breakdown in negotiations with the government.
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The school system
was not affected, but all other municipal services, including sanitation,
parking enforcement, and welfare services were shut down in all cities except
Jerusalem, where the strike was not held because of security
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Hundreds of protesters demonstrated at traffic junctions across
the country, waving signs and in many cases preventing the flow of
The dispute stems from local authorities’ request that the
government return some NIS 600 million in budget cuts and NIS 500m. in school
funding that has been slashed nationwide.
On Monday, the union issued a
statement saying that national budget for local authorities in 2002 was NIS 3.4
billion, and that instead of rising over the past six years, it was set at NIS
2.4b. for the current year.
Union member Romi Avnat, who organized the
protest at the Yad Mordechai junction on Tuesday, called the demonstration “a
great success,” in that it brought together several dozen leaders of western
Negev local authorities who stood together and stopped traffic at the busy
junction for several short intervals.
Avnat said the protest, like the
strike, was held because “the situation we are in has become unbearable. Local
authorities are on the brink of collapse. If the situation isn’t resolved, we
won’t be able to pay salaries.”
The union has future actions planned,
including a protest outside the Knesset next Tuesday.
Leaders have vowed
that if situation is not solved, they will call a general strike that won’t be
limited to a single day.
A spokesman from the Finance Ministry said
Tuesday that “we have met all of our obligations under the agreements we have
signed with the union. This strike was a bizarre and unnecessary blow to the
quality of life.”