(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A nearly six-hour meeting between the government and the high-school teachers ended without results late Sunday night.
After the meeting, the Finance Ministry and the Education Ministry released a blistering statement against the Secondary School Teachers Organization (SSTO) and its head, Ran Erez.
"The SSTO missed an opportunity to reduce the number of students in a class and increase teaching hours. Even though this offer was within Ran Erez's grasp, he decided to reject it in order to pulverize the reform reached with the National Teachers Union and abandoned the negotiating table at the price of 600,000 students being prevented from returning to the classrooms.
"Erez also rejected Histadrut head Ofer Eini's proposal to solve the crisis," the ministries and the local authorities said.
A senior source in the negotiations said Erez "is entrenching himself in his positions more than Nasrallah in his bunker."
The SSTO rejected the criticism after the meeting.
"They didn't offer anything concrete. Not regarding fewer students per class, or more hours. They kept saying, 'We'll consider it, we'll study it.' That is a stance for an earlier part of the negotiations, but not after a year and a half," the group said. "We don't want to scuttle the reform. We don't accept it, but they [the National Teachers Union] can live with it. We want a suitable reform."
SSTO spokeswoman Keren Shaked described the negotiations as largely polite and pleasant.
"Most of the time, it was polite and respectful. Sometimes voices were raised when people got a little upset," she told The Jerusalem Post.
According to Army Radio, during the meeting Erez said that "some enjoy being raped." Erez was responding to a statement made by a Finance Ministry representative who said that they were "raped" in to accepting Eini's compromise layout.
Education Ministry Dir.-Gen. Shlomit Amihai was shocked by Erez's statement and demanded he apologize. Erez then replied, saying, "Don't hold me to my word. Whoever gets raped many times, starts enjoying it."
No spokesman for the government was available at press time.
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