Jewish Agency Ordered to Pay Damages to Fired Union Organizers

Three former employees say they were fired because they started the union and tried to declare a labor dispute.

David Salem

The Jewish Agency for Israel will pay 120,000 shekels ($32,000) in compensation to three employees who were fired after setting up a union at one of the agency’s subsidiaries.

The compensation was ordered last week by the Jerusalem Labor Court, which the men petitioned after they were fired from the subsidiary that runs Youth Futures, a mentoring program for at-risk preteens and teens.

Romi Saar, Netanel Reifer and Zohar Weissman claimed they were fired because they started the union and tried to declare a labor dispute, while the Jewish Agency insisted that the union’s establishment had nothing to do with their dismissal. In the end, the court didn’t rule on this question, but brokered a settlement under which the agency will pay 40,000 shekels each to the three men plus 35,000 shekels to their lawyer.

Before being fired, the men had also petitioned the National Labor Court to recognize their union as representing all the subsidiary’s employees. That case is still pending.