Chairman of the Council of Local Authorities Adi Eldar, who was recently appointed go-between for the Secondary School Teachers Organization and the Finance Ministry in their attempts to end a nearly three-week-long teachers strike, announced Wednesday evening that he was throwing up his hands and resigning as mediator. Eldar, who participated in four meetings with representatives of both sides, said that "there [was] no choice but to approach a different forum." Eldar gave notice after the SSTO rejected a proposal by Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On. The offer includes the signing of a collective wage agreement, an additional 5 percent to teachers' wages over the course of the next five years and the promise of reform in the education system in the coming months. Teachers have demanded an immediate 15% raise in wages in exchange for a postponement of the reform process and additional duties. "Unfortunately, long hours of talks ended with [SSTO head Ran Erez] responding in the negative to the proposal from the finance minister. Therefore, my role as a mediator has come to an end," Eldar said. "The strike is entering its 20th day, and the authorities believe that there is no choice but to stand aside and wait to see how 650,000 pupils are wandering the streets."