Israeli Finance Ministry to blame for Teachers Union dispute - minister

The ministry "does not care about teachers, parents or students," Israel's Education Minister Yifat Shasha Biton said.

Israeli parliament member Yifat Shasha Biton visits the coronadepartment at the Ziv Hospital in Tzfat, Northern Israel. December 03, 2020. (photo credit: DAVID COHEN/FLASH 90)
Israeli parliament member Yifat Shasha Biton visits the coronadepartment at the Ziv Hospital in Tzfat, Northern Israel. December 03, 2020.
(photo credit: DAVID COHEN/FLASH 90)

Education Minister Yifat Shasha Biton accused the Finance Ministry of unwillingness to come to an agreement with the Teachers Union over an increase in wages for teachers across the country, in a Tuesday evening interview on Channel 12.

 Two and a half weeks before the start of the new school year in Israel, the negotiations between the finance minister and the Teachers Union have reached a dead-end, amid threats by the teachers to disrupt the Israeli education system by going on strike.

"[The Finance Ministry] does not care about teachers, parents or students. As far as they are concerned, negotiations can drag out until December. The offer that was presented is not the reality."

Israeli Education Minister Yifat Shasha Biton

"[The Finance Ministry] does not care about teachers, parents or students," Shasha Biton said. "As far as they are concerned, negotiations can drag out until December. The offer that was presented is not the reality."

Head of the Israel Beyteinu Party Avigdor Liberman at the opening of the party's campaign, in Neve Ilan, ahead of the upcoming elections, August 14, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)Head of the Israel Beyteinu Party Avigdor Liberman at the opening of the party's campaign, in Neve Ilan, ahead of the upcoming elections, August 14, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman's ministry "does not want a deal" and has not wanted a deal since January, the education minister claimed. However, Shasha Biton refrained from personally attacking Liberman, suggesting that there are "officials" in the ministry who do not want to raise teachers' salaries.

"Liberman told me at the start of July that he wants a deal within two weeks," Shasha Biton recalled. "I still believe him."

Deal must offer assurances and stability - Shasha Biton

According to the education minister, her ministry has presented a "clear outline" during negotiations to reach a successful conclusion, which must include an "assurance that new teachers have a future and veteran teachers have financial stability."

Amid ongoing strikes and reports of vacant positions within the education system, the Finance Ministry published a report detailing wage expenditures in the education system for the 2020-2021 academic year. According to the report’s findings, there has been a sharp rise in the rate of young teachers leaving teaching, likely due to significant disparities in educators’ wages.

Israel also has one of the world’s biggest gaps in teachers’ salaries, according to an OECD report on the issue in 2021. The report showed that monthly salaries range from NIS 5,880 for teachers in training to NIS 25,346 for school principals, while the average salary for a full-time teacher was NIS 13,971.