The directors' and scriptwriters' unions have decided to put off a general strike against all television networks by one month. The reason for this plot development? HOT cable company, the main target of their grievances is ready to open negotiations on paying royalties for reruns.

Participants in a conference held by television creators on Friday, at the Tzavta Auditorium in Tel Aviv, decided to respond affirmatively to HOT's request to delay a strike to permit negotiations. However, TV employees decided to delay the strike by only 30 days rather than the two months requested by representatives of HOT stockholders.

The general television strike, slated to begin today, created seething tension in the television market. More than 400 writers and directors, including those now working on major productions like telenovelas "Ha'alufa (The Champion)" on HOT and "Our Song" on the YES satellite station, signed an agreement to strike. "Ha'alufa" producer Daniel Faran had already canceled two days of filming scheduled to take place during the intermediate days of Pesach in response to the threat of a strike.

Strike leaders reported, in the conference on Friday, that writers' and directors' unions had successfully enlisted the support of all major television productions except for the head writers of the political satire "A Wonderful Country," aired by the Keshet franchise on Channel 2. Both its writers, David Lifshitz and Asaf Shalmon, refused to speak or meet with the writers' and directors' unions, while directors of the program agreed to the strike.

Meanwhile, intense discussions have been going on between union leaders and representatives of HOT stockholders. Shilo de-Bar, representing Arnon Moses, told the writers and directors that the stockholders were prepared to pay royalties under certain conditions, which they were willing to negotiate.

At the conference, Avi Shemesh, managing director of Teli (the Royalties Company for Israeli Television and Cinematographic Works), explained that, for the first time, HOT was prepared to recognize rights of writers and directors to receive royalties, and that HOT had agreed to enter a process of arbitration to determine the royalty payments.

De-Bar said: "The euphoria is unwarranted. Specific conditions and elements may perhaps permit termination of the dispute, but that is still a long way off."