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Striking senior faculty in four of Israel's seven universities have initiated efforts to remove their presidents, Haaretz has learned.

The lecturers took up arms following the university presidents' decision to seek an injunction from the National Labor Court to end the professors' 10-week-old strike.

Senior lecturers from Ben-Gurion University in Be'er Sheva began collecting faculty signatures on a no-confidence petition against President Rivka Carmi yesterday. They also publicly called for her to resign. Lecturers and students physically blocked the university's entrance to protest her decision to go to court.

At Haifa University, an association of senior lecturers called for impeaching President Aharon Ben Ze'ev. However, the professors do not at present have a majority for voting him out.

At the Technion in Haifa and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, senior lecturers have taken similar steps against the leadership. Technion professors have reportedly obtained around 80 of the 115 signatures of Technion Senate members required to impeach President Yitzhak Apeloig. Hebrew University will hold an emergency general meeting in the coming days, where the possibility of impeaching President Menachem Magidor is expected to come up.

Tel Aviv University President Zvi Galil, who initially supported going to court, later said he opposed the issuing of an injunction and asked that his university's name be removed from the request.

National Labor Court President Steve Adler gave the faculty until Sunday morning to respond to the presidents' demand for a back-to-work order. He also summoned attorneys for the university presidents, the lecturers and the Finance Ministry to a conference yesterday, where they agreed that their principals would meet in court on Monday to discuss further negotiations.

The injunction request stated that the strike has directly harmed some 100,000 students and caused "cumulative damage to the public higher education system" by creating a perception that "the chance to obtain a degree is ... subject to the threat of strikes."

The lecturers are seeking a 30 percent pay increase. The treasury has offered 20 percent, some of which would be chalked up to past erosion of their pay and some to future erosion.