Student Union Representatives: Strike to Continue as Planned

Students say crucial clauses previously agreed upon in talks are missing from written PMO draft agreement.

The student unions criticized officials from the Prime Minister's Office Wednesday regarding the draft copy of the proposed compromise deal between the two sides, maintaining that "there is a huge gap between what we spoke about and what is written on paper."

The criticism came after hopeful sides Tuesday said that they had reached a "breakthrough" in negotiations, and predicted that university studies would resume shortly.

However, student union representatives expressed their disappointment with the written agreement that was given to them by PMO officials, claiming that crucial elements that were previously agreed upon were missing from the document.

The students maintain that the agreement did not include a clause promising that tuition would not be unilaterally raised, and did not include a promise to return slashed budget cuts of NIS 20 million to teacher training colleges.

Students have yet to decide whether to hold Wednesday's planned meeting to vote on the agreement, and are hoping to receive a revised copy of the compromised agreement, which would include the missing clauses previously agreed upon.

The student union issued a statement saying that "The protest to save the higher education in Israel continues. The student public will continue to fight until it reaches its goals."

The students are also weighing the possibility of supporting the Knesset Education Committee Chairman MK Michael Melchior's (Labor) proposal to anchor tuition fees in the legislation.

Melchior said on Tuesday that if a deal is not made with the students by Sunday, the committee will add a clause to the Students' Rights Law regarding tuition, which will be brought to the Knesset plenum for approval.

Earlier Tuesday, the chairman of the Committee of University Heads, Professor Moshe Kaveh, said that a breakthrough had been reached in negotiations with students, who are expected to terminate their strike soon.

"A breakthrough has been made with the students," he said. "Studies will resume soon."