A strike by local authorities throughout Israel that was planned for Thursday has been canceled after the government conceded to local government requirements.More than 150 mayors and local council heads threatened a widespread strike on Thursday, unless much-needed government payments worth billions of shekels were immediately guaranteed for educational institutions and other municipal services. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Interior Minister Arye Deri and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon met with local authorities and convinced them to cancel the strike, the Prime Minister’s Office said.Modi’in-Maccabim-Reut Mayor Haim Bibs said, “The money obtained has prevented the authorities from collapsing.”At a meeting attended by the prime minister and other officials, Netanyahu thanked Deri and Kahlon for their role in helping halt the strike and for “coming to a quick conclusion” on the pressing matters.“The government’s duty is to protect the security of its citizens from threats from outside and threats from inside,” the prime minister said. “We are committed to it with all our might.”In the education sector, municipal leaders said a budget deficit of NIS 1.2 billion – necessary for the construction of 1,200 additional classrooms every year – jeopardized their ability to commence the next academic year as scheduled. They also accused the Education Ministry of delaying significant funds for local authority operations, including school transportation services, building renovations and transportation supervision.The municipalities cited Interior Ministry cuts worth NIS 300m. in 190 local authorities, which they said threaten their ability to provide necessary services, and the cancellation of after-school activities in the northern periphery.In addition, the municipal leaders called for the implementation of an already-approved economic development plan for towns in the North worth NIS 600m., and an immediate decision regarding the continuation of a five-year plan to boost the Arab, Bedouin and Druze sectors.“Local government is united around this important goal: continuing to provide our residents with the best services possible,” said Bibas.In recent days, Israel’s caretaker government has faced criticism for its handling of finances. On Monday, the cabinet approved a NIS 200m. plan to build a cable car that will connect the First Station in Jerusalem’s German Colony neighborhood with the Western Wall.According to TheMarker, Israel’s 2019 budget assumed a deficit of NIS 40b. ($11.4b.) with the latest figure indicating that the government is running past its target by about NIS 13b.The growing deficit is a cause for concern, particularly as back-to-back elections and an on-going political deadlock prevent the government from tackling the issue head-on.Ezra Taylor, Yaakov Katz and Eytan Halon contributed to this report.