Israeli Teachers Call Off Strike as Union Reaches Deal

Strike would have affected primary schools and kindergartens, but school year will begin as scheduled on Sunday

A classroom in Rishon Letzion, Israel.
Moti Milrod

The strike planned by the Israeli Teachers Union for primary schools and kindergartens was called off Friday, after the Histadrut labor federation signed a deal with the Finance Ministry.

The agreement will reduce the number of work days deducted per sick day from 1.4 days to one. The sides agreed to set up a sick day fund that will compensate educators who have used up all their paid sick leave. Likewise, it was agreed to make an adjustment in the calculation of pension payments.

“I welcome the understandings reached today, which are the fruit of joint work and intensive discussions of the last weeks, and I commend both Finance Ministry officials and Teachers Union representatives,” Yaffa Ben David, the secretary general of the Teachers Union, commented.

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The Histadrut had declared a strike over the introduction of special education reforms allowing parents of special needs children to decide whether to send them to regular classes. The Histadrut asserted such a move would cause an undue burden on teachers without providing them with proper training.

On Friday, the Labor Court forbade the Secondary School Teachers’ Association to block the opening of the new school year. The court accepted the position taken by the state and the Federation of Local Authorities and rejected all the arguments made by the teachers’ union, saying that it had previously agreed to a status quo until March 2020.