Israeli Diplomatic Staffers Go On Strike Worldwide Over Pay

Israeli Diplomatic Staffers Go On Strike Worldwide Over Pay

By Batsheva Sobelman, Los Angeles Times

JERUSALEM — Israel’s Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem was closed Monday and Israeli embassies shuttered worldwide after the country’s diplomatic staff declared an indefinite strike, frustrating high-level travel plans and foreign policy protocol.

A general strike was announced Sunday after a seven-month mediation failed to resolve a protracted labor dispute called by more than 1,000 diplomatic employees seeking what they term long-overdue raises.

This month, employees declared a partial strike, stopping consular services abroad, halting all preparations for planned official trips to and from Israel and limiting contacts with all international organizations, including the United Nations.

Diplomatic staff members are asking for an increase in salaries, last updated a decade ago and eroded by the increasingly expensive cost of living abroad, as well as the families’ frequent reliance on one salary and later pension while their partners forgo careers of their own.

Foreign Ministry employees have staged several strikes in recent years to protest inadequate compensation, which they say is killing professional foreign service.

One-third of young staffers quit before their 10-year mark in service, making lifelong careers in diplomacy a thing of the past.

From the head of government to ordinary citizens, the strike is wreaking all kinds of havoc and affecting Israeli interests, big and small.

The Israeli mission to the United Nations has suspended all actions, from filing a complaint about the intercepted arms shipped from Iran to countering anti-Israeli votes.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled his official visit to Latin America, and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon has called off a working trip to Rome.

Couples stuck in Thailand without the documentation required to naturalize their babies born through surrogacy and tourists left penniless and passport-less after being mugged in Argentina are among the stranded Israelis in need of consular services. Special dispensations will be considered in urgent cases.

Hundreds of Israeli backpackers trekking in Nepal will have to make other plans for Passover, as the traditional mass holiday meal staged in Katmandu will not take place if Israeli diplomats won’t release a huge container of matzo and kosher provisions from Calcutta customs.

Although ministry officials were dismayed that a visit by British Prime Minister David Cameron went ahead as Netanyahu’s office and the British Embassy circumvented the strike, they did win solidarity from the British Trade Union Congress, media reported.

Photo: Acroll via Flickr

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Sucking Up: House Republicans Want To Give Trump A Gold Medal

Rep. Matt Gaetz outside the New York Supreme Court for Trump trial on May 15, 2024

Donald Trump

The first Congressional Gold Medal was struck in 1776 as a way of saying thanks to George Washington. Since then, the medal has been awarded just 184 times to hallowed figures including Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, and the Dalai Lama. Compared to the 647 civilian Presidential Medals of Freedom or the 3,517 military Medals of Honor, the Congressional Gold Medal is the rarest of the great honors awarded in America.

Keep reading...Show less
Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani's efforts to help Donald Trump overturn the 2020 presidential election results have resulted in both civil lawsuits and two criminal indictments for the former New York City mayor. Giuliani is among Trump's co-defendants in Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis' election interference case, and in late April, he was indicted by a grand jury in a separate election interference case being prosecuted by State Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat, in Arizona.

Keep reading...Show less
{{ }}