January 24, 2011
Israeli diplomats end strike
A strike by Israeli Foreign Ministry employees that caused the cancellation of visits by foreign delegations has ended.
An agreement reached Monday means that a visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and several ministers to attend the annual joint Israel-Germany Cabinet session will go ahead this week as scheduled, according to reports.
As part of the three-year agreement, the diplomats will receive a salary increase, a bonus package and a special bonus for diplomats serving abroad, many of whom have said they could not afford to live in their host countries on meager salaries. A demand for outside evaluation for major promotions will be addressed outside of the salary dispute, according to reports.
The yearlong strike, called to bring Foreign Ministry salaries in line with the Defense Ministry and the Mossad, disrupted diplomatic mail, assistance to Israelis abroad and relations with foreign ministries abroad. Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations skipped a session earlier this month dedicated to the Middle East and Israel due to the strike.
Earlier this month, a delegation of 500 that included business leaders and led by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had to be canceled due to a lack of cooperation from Foreign Ministry personnel.