"We have achieved all of the goals for which we fought," Secondary School Teachers Organization head Ran Erez said Thursday at a joint press conference with Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On and Education Minister Yuli Tamir, upon finalizing an agreement agreement that ended a 65-day high school teachers' strike. "In a struggle one must be steadfast and persevere; one must know how far to push the issue, to approach the peak and then to sign [an agreement]. The peak was yesterday. We signed yesterday and this morning finished the wording of the documents," Erez said. Erez also expressed his gratitude to the Finance Minister "for his patience and tolerance" and to the education minister "for her activities in the past few days." "Without this combined effort, we would not necessarily have reached this event," he stated. Tamir also praised the deal: "This is a package that has never before been on the table. It will add billions of NIS to the education budget in the coming years and will significantly increase our ability to provide good education in Israel." Bar-On said it was "a day of celebration." But some officials criticized the manner in which the agreement had been reached. Earlier, Histadrut Labor Federation Chairman Ofer Eini said the strike had lasted a month more than it should have. Eini congratulated the sides on having accepted his proposed agreement, but said that the offer had been laid on the table "long ago," and much suffering could have been prevented if it had been accepted beforehand. MK Zevulun Orlev (NU/NRP) said that while students' return to schools was a welcome development, "there remains a heavy feeling of discomfort that the government has missed a golden opportunity to implement real reform, which would upgrade the collapsing education system and teachers' lowly status. But an SSTO administration member expressed satisfaction with the deal reached. "The strike brought the issue of education to the forefront of the public agenda, and allowed teachers to return proudly to schools," Avi Pascal told Army Radio.