( March 24, 2014, Moscow, Sri Lanka Guardian) Highly suspicious and unprecedented activity from any government to have to close down all of their embassies around the world regardless of the circumstances. The fact that it is Israel doing this raises even more red flags. Hopefully this isn’t a precursor to something bigger.
Employees of Israel’s Foreign Ministry went on an all-out strike Sunday for the first time in the country’s history over a dispute surrounding workers’ salaries and conditions.
The dispute has been going on for nearly two years. Seven months of negotiations ended on March 4, when workers rejected a proposal by the Finance Ministry.
Israeli ambassadors abroad will not go to work, no consular services will be available, and Israel will not be represented at any international gatherings during the strike. Even the Foreign Ministry’s political leadership and management will be locked out.
The strike is indefinite and will affect everyone, including employers bringing foreign workers to Israel for work, immigrants, and anyone who wants to travel to Israel – including foreign dignitaries.
“Today, for the first time in Israel’s history, the foreign ministry will be closed and no work will be done in any sphere under the ministry’s authority,” a statement by the ministry’s workers’ committee reads.
It added that the strike would be “open ended” because of the “employment conditions for Israeli diplomats and because of the draconian decision by the Treasury to cut workers’ salaries.”
A number of visits have already been canceled or put on hold, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned trip to Mexico, Panama, and Colombia next month, as well as Pope Francis’ planned visit to Israel in May.