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The Haifa District Court yesterday gave final approval to the sale of Nahariya's Molitan knitwear factory to businessman Zvi Meir for NIS 9 million.

The ruling was made possible after the Histadrut labor federation agreed to loan Meir NIS 2 million in order to meet the purchase price set last week by the court.

The court-appointed receiver is considering appealing the decision, but some of the plant's 100 happy employees had already returned to the factory last night for the evening shift.

News of the sale's approval was met with shouts and clapping by employees. When Meir, and Galilee Region union representative Asher Shmueli exited the courtroom, waiting workers begin singing songs in their praise.

"I hope the factory will get back on its feet," Meir said. "These are good people who want to work and I hope that together we can get things rolling."

Among the dozens of Molitan employees at the court yesterday were Victoria and Vladimir Striltsov, both of whom have been working at the plant for five years. They and their three children depend on Molitan for their livelihood, but the Striltsovs have not been paid for three months and their future salaries are still in doubt.