Budget Crunch Means Hundreds of Security Officials Could Be Laid Off, Union Says

Kalandiya checkpoint. (Medabrim Tikshoret)

The absence of a government is beginning to make itself felt in the field. On Tuesday night, hundreds of officials responsible for security in towns and cities throughout the country attended a hearing before they are laid off, a development that will become a certainty unless the Defense Ministry allocates money for their salaries.

The security officials are part of the National Histadrut union and have a contract with the Defense Ministry, but in recent weeks the ministry has said that it does not have the money to fulfill some aspects of the contract – and that it may have to lay off many of the officials. In protest, officials are organizing a demonstration to be held outside Defense Ministry headquarters, as well as work actions, such as refusing to answer any calls from residents unless they involve life-threatening situations.

The union last week declared a work dispute over the matter, and in a statement said that it would move forward with the work actions in the coming days. A spokesperson for the security officials said that “we have reached our limits. Millions of Israelis are in immediate danger and may be left without first responders for security incidents. Calling in the officials for a hearing before their possible dismissal is the last straw.”