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The Manufacturers Association of Israel (MAI) has petitioned the National Labor Court to order the Civil Servants Union to immediately halt the strike it began yesterday at government ministries.

The MAI claimed the strike was causing serious harm to 2,000 factories that are members of the association because it has closed border crossings and customs, preventing goods from reaching their destinations. The strike is also shutting down passport services, which stings frequent business travelers.

The impending tender for providing banking services to civil servants, which the Accountant General's Office issued, is the cause of the strike.

The tender threatens the monopoly of Bank Yahav, partly owned by the union, on these services. Talks between the union and the Finance Ministry have yet to take place, however, because Accountant General Yaron Zelekha is in Canada.

The Interior Ministry is not issuing official documents such as passports and identity cards because of the strike. Services such as employment, licensing, and income tax are also unavailable.

In addition, the Justice Ministry is not registering properties. The Construction and Housing Ministry is not issuing mortgage eligibility certificates and court secretaries are only replying to urgent requests. But judges are hearing cases as usual.

Employment Service director general Ester Dominisini said yesterday the strike at her office would not adversely affect eligibility calculations for those receiving unemployment benefits.