Foreign Ministry Strike Almost Over

YERUSHALAYIM -

The strike at the Israeli Foreign Ministry was nearing an end on Thursday, according to media reports.

The Histadrut and the Ministry of Finance made progress toward an agreement on Wednesday night at a meeting chaired by Judge Emeritus Steve Adler, former president of the National Labor Court.

The two sides were slated to meet Thursday to draw up a memorandum of understanding to end the first such strike of the Foreign Ministry, which has shut down embassies and consulates worldwide and forced cancellation of several official visits to Israel by foreign dignitaries. However, as Hamodia went to press, there was no report that matters had been finalized.

While negotiations proceeded on Wednesday, the Foreign Ministry workers contested Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s accusations that their strike has prevented bereaved families abroad from bringing bodies home for burial, The Jerusalem Post reported on Thursday.

The claims were spurious, one worker said, asserting that the workers committee had approved providing the consular services to enable flying the bodies of six Israelis back home for burial.

Ministry workers say they do not earn enough money to support themselves in Israel or on international assignments, especially in the more expensive Western countries.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Lieberman acknowledged some legitimate grievances, including salary demands, but condemned the strike, which he said was being conducted “on the backs” of Israeli citizens abroad, who cannot obtain passport and other vital ministry services.