Passport, ID cards and customs services close as Histadrut expands strike

Histadrut protest [File] (photo credit: Courtesy)
Histadrut protest [File]
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Histadrut labor federation on Wednesday expanded a slow-simmering strike in the public sector, which for weeks has put driving instructors out of commission.
As of Wednesday, citizens will not be able to get goods released from customs at the sea ports or get passports or ID cards renewed or issued. Land crossings from Jordan will be significantly slowed, and the Economy Ministry, Health Ministry and Israel Lands Authority will not be open to the public.
With no progress made on Wednesday, the strike was expected to continue into Thursday.
The sanctions began three weeks ago in protest of a government plan to privatize the inefficient driver’s license testing process.
The Histadrut called the initiative one-sided.
Uriel Lynn, the president of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, slammed the expanded strike as an unnecessary pressure tactic that would harm businesses that rely on state services.
In a letter, Lynn asked Histadrut chairman Avi Nissenkorn not to take such measures that affect services ahead of Passover.
“I’m appealing to you personally and asking to draw your attention to the fact that you have a real opportunity to demonstrate social leadership, in the name of the public that you represent, to prevent harm to the wider public in Israel,” Lynn wrote.
Blocking the “keys” to Israel’s entries and exits – the ports – as well as consumer services would only serve to raise prices, he added.