Haifa school strikes in protest against antenna

The parents committee of the Tel Hai elementary school in Haifa's Neve Sha'anan district called a strike on Monday and all 500 pupils stayed away in protest against the establishment several months ago of an antenna of a cellular phone company a few meters from the school. The parents committee said the action was taken after repeated requests to the municipality and the phone company to move the antenna had been in vain. Lawyer Roni Grossmann of the Haifa municipality's spokesman's office, said that although the strike was regrettable the municipality was a partner in the fight for the removal of the antenna from the vicinity of the school. Grossman stressed that mayor Yona Yahav had led a fight against the erection of antennae in residential areas, especially close to schools and kindergartens, but the municipality was powerless to act because the existing law, backed by the government, allowed such antennae to be erected anywhere - thus over-riding municipal bye-laws and regulations. The municipality recently lost a court case when it tried to refuse permission to a mobile phone company to erect an antenna in the city.