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Teachers and civil servants have vowed to close down schools in January unless funding for security guards is made available.

The Union of Local Authorities and the two biggest teachers unions said they would shut down schools unless the government rescinds its decision to cut NIS 120 million from the Public Security Ministry and fire 4,000 security guards.

"The government has forgotten that this is not Switzerland and that there are people just waiting for the right hour to hurt us," said Adi Eldar, the chairman of the Union of Local Authorities.

Teachers union heads Ran Erez and Yossi Vasserman emerged from a meeting with Eldar yesterday and promised to go on strike unless their security arrangement demands are met.

Education Minister Yuli Tamir (Labor) also voiced her disapproval with the budget cuts. Tamir wrote a letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Finance Minister Roni Bar-On in which she warned that reducing security at schools might endanger pupils.

"In light of the security situation that exists in the country, reducing the scale of security may threaten the [pupils'] safety as well as that of the institutions' staff," Tamir wrote.