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The chairman of the Histadrut labor federation, Ofer Eini, met with the heads of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions to persuade them to cancel their boycott of Israel.

The boycott includes a call to workers not to buy Israeli products and to avoid providing services to Israeli companies operating in Ireland or trading with it. The boycott predates the British attempts at an academic boycott, which in the end did not proceed.

The Irish boycott is more important as a statement and has little practical consequences, since the economic ties between the two countries are not particularly significant relative to other European countries.

The union leaders told Eini that the decision as to the future of the boycott will be raised at the next assembly of the unions - but that will only be in an another year and a half to two years.

Nevertheless, the Histadrut hopes that the congress will call an early, special assembly to end the boycott. This seems more likely in light of the union leaders' announcement of a visit to Israel in November. Eini told his hosts that a boycott mostly hurts the workers of the boycotting -- and not the boycotted - country.