Pri Hagalil to Reopen as Israeli Government Pledges NIS 18m

Grant awarded after urgent meeting of Knesset Economic Affairs Committee with Pri Hagalil's owners.

The Pri Hagalil canning factory in Hatzor Haglilit, which has been closed since Friday, will reopen Tuesday following government assurances that the plant would receive an NIS 18 million grant.

The factory's owners had sent the 220 permanent employees on unpaid leave on Friday.

The plant has become the focus of a well-publicized dispute recently, with its owners claiming that the government never made good on a pledge to deliver a NIS 18 million grant. Government officials claimed the factory never qualified for government assistance.

On Monday, the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee held an urgent meeting, following which senior government officials met with Pri Hagalil's owners. Officials agreed to fast-track legislation, allowing the government to award the grant.

Histadrut labor federation representatives praised the decision, saying, "We hope it will now be possible to resolve the issue once and for all."

Committee chairman Carmel Shama-Hacohen said that former Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Benjamin Ben Eliezer had promised the grant, adding that the government must uphold its promises. He also criticized the owners of the factory: "It seems they are using the workers as a means to attain business objectives."

Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry official Hezi Tzaig said the decision would require new legislation, but that his ministry would transfer the necessary funds to the factory when that happened.