Local Authorities Set to Strike on Thursday

YERUSHALAYIM -
Piles of garbage caused by a strike of the Yerushalayim municipality, during a previous municipal strike. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Kindergartens will be closed, city services in many towns will grind to a halt, and garbage will pile up in the streets – if, as expected, local authorities and municipalities go on strike Thursday. Last-ditch negotiations were underway Wednesday to find hundreds of millions of shekels that cities claim the government owes them, but have not been transferred because many government offices responsible for the transfers are not operating.

Affected will be almost all city services and schools around the country. While schools fall under the aegis of the Education Ministry, the security guards that are stationed outside them are local employees, and without guards, schools cannot operate. Parking tickets will not be distributed in the event there is a strike, and all social services, such as visits by social workers and transfer payments scheduled for Thursday, will not take place. And, of course, garbage will not be picked up.

The problem is that money to pay for these services has run out, and without a fully functioning government, there is no one to approve new transfers. Chaim Bibas, mayor of Modiin and chairman of the Local Authority Representative Body, said that “nine million Israelis are not to blame because their Knesset representatives have not been able to form a government for a year. Our task is to ensure that services are available for all Israelis. If the nonfunctioning government cannot enable us to deliver those services we will shut down the country until they understand the damage being done. You cannot freeze life for millions because of politics.”